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A D R E A M E R. 


Florence. A handsome apartment in a large 
house. Two well -furnished rooms, opening 
the one into the other, gay with talking and 
laughter. In the larger of the two Mr Mor- 
timer is standing, the centre of a group of men, 
some artists by profession, some amateurs. He 
is displaying a picture lately finished, and is 
receiving gay and flattering criticisms. Gris- 
elda stands In a recess by the window of the 
inner room. It is late in the afternoon, and 
the lamps are already being lighted in the 
streets. The room is full of the twilight, 
though candles are burning in the adjoining 


apartment. You cannot distinguish the colour 
of Griselda's gown, but you can see the grace- 
ful outline of her figure, and some of her face's 
delicate beauty. One hand plays restlessly 
with the blind-cord, and her eyes are a little 
restless too, now and then wandering away 
from her loquacious companion, to whom she 
vouchsafes only short and careless replies. 
Griselda looks plaintive to-night : more bril- 
liant, less childish than she was a year ago, 
she is still anxious and careworn. The lively 
young Russian speaking to her is a boyish, 
good-humoured fellow, Count Ivan Schouvar- 
owski. He is talking terrible nonsense in the 
most inflated language. By a table at a little 
distance stands a lean, sallow, straight-haired 
American, of some five-and-thirty years of age. 
He holds a photograph-book in his hands, but 
he is not looking at it ; his gaze — or rather his 
scowl — is fixed on the pair by the window. 
Griselda and the Count are talking chiefly 
in English, but occasionally they slide into 
French or Italian, one of these languages 
being as natural to them as another; but at 


these times the scowl of the American deepens, 
for he loses the thread of the conversation. 
Not that he considers the young Russian's 
talk worth understanding : it seems to him 
the essence of folly, impertinent as well as 

Griselda's eyes were busy in the next room, 
and she was listening in the hope of catching 
what her father was saying ; but presently her 
glance fell on the moody American, whose 
patience was beginning to fail. Griselda 
interrupted Count Schouvarowski suddenly. 

" Please will you go in there and ask my 
father from me what he has been saying about 
a project for next month ? When you under- 
stand it all, you may come back and tell 

" I have sworn to obey your least behest," 
said the lad, unwillingly leaving his position 
and wandering into the adjoining room. 

Griselda turned to Mr Martin. 

" Do you want to speak to me ? " she said, 
smiling, but with a tinge of impatience in her 
tone. " I have sent him away, because he 


makes so much noise I can hear nothing else 
if he is by." 

" He's a conceited puppy," said Mr Martin, 
unable to control himself lonQ^er. 

" No ; he is my very good friend," said 

Mr Martin made no response, and looked 
so entirely unmoved by this flash that Griselda 
subsided into her shell, and turned her back 
a little on Mr Martin. The American joined 
her in the window. 

" Miss Mortimer," he said (Mr Martin was 
not fond of music, and ignored Griselda's pro- 
fession as much as possible), '' I desire to ask 
you a question." 

" I am listening with both my ears, Mr 
Martin," said Griselda, playfully, but inwardly 

Mr Martin bent his head a little closer, and, 
with a half- suppressed smile and a light of 
some excitement in his eyes, said, in a low 
tone, *' I guess it Is true that you are engaged 
to your father's friend. Captain Castleton." 

Griselda did not start visibly, and it was too 


dark for her sudden pallor to be noticed. She 
resumed the blind -cord amusement, and did 
not reply for a few minutes. Presently she 
asked, *' Who said so ? " 

*' I had it on the best possible authority, 
Miss Mortimer, short of yourself. I don't say 
/believed it." 

Another pause; then Griselda said, speak- 
ing rapidly, " You will do me the favour of 
contradicting, if you are told this again." 

" Then it is not a true report, Miss Mor- 
timer ? Every one believes it." 

" Captain Castleton has not asked me to 
marry him. I should certainly not marry him 
if he did. Will you let me pass, if you please ?" 

She went into the next room, glancing at 
the young Russian, who was by her side in 
a moment, chattering as fast as possible. 
Griselda neither listened nor replied, but she 
was glad to be screened from observation by 
his presence and talk. He saw she was agi- 
tated and annoyed, but was too good-natured 
to show any curiosity. Griselda liked the boy 
though she treated him with some disdain. 


As to Mr Martin, when thus suddenly 
deserted, he was oppressed by a sense of 
failure. He had intended to say a great deal 
more when he had caught Griselda alone for 
a few moments. Here he was, tossed aside 
like a bit of waste -paper for this detestable 
little Russian. But men of Mr Martin's 
country can be patient and crafty. He set 
out for his hotel, having left a small parcel 
in the charge of Griselda's maid. 

After the discomfited Mr Martin had van- 
ished, Griselda returned to her window, leaning 
her forehead against the glass and letting the 
Count continue his lively nonsense unheeded. 
Presently she discerned a figure coming along 
the pavement, and starting up with clasped 
hands, she cried, " Oh, will you do something 
for me ? " 

" Anything for you, Signorina." 

She pointed to the figure. 

** Go, say I have a headache ; say we re- 
ceive no one to-day. Say anything you like, 
only go — do go, and send him away." 

The young fellow obeyed, and presently 


she saw him and the new-comer walking past 
the house, arm In arm. 

She left the room, closing the door softly ; 
ran swiftly up the staircase, and rushed into 
her dressinof-room. 

A maid was there busily arranging an even- 
ing dress for her young mistress. There was 
no opera to-night, and Griselda was to sing at 
a large party in a private palace. The maid 
was a German, stout, and not too young ; her 
name was Luise. 

" Put that down," said Griselda, in her sweet, 
peremptory voice, "and go away, please." 

Left alone, she blew out the candles and sat 
down on the floor. She did not cry, but she 
trembled all over, and a tearless sob arose in 
her throat. 

"He will force me to It," she cried, pressing 
her hand to her forehead. " I will die first. 
It Is just like him, the base coward, afraid to 
speak till he has entangled me In a web like 
a spider. And papa helps him. Oh, if I had 
but one friend ! I can't quite trust Ivan, and 
there Is no one else." 


She sat still for a few minutes ; then rose 
and looked out. Night had fallen on the fair 
city : the lights along the river-slde, and from 
the houses of the Ponte Vecchio, gleamed In 
the water with a wavering, uncertain light. 
She opened her window, and listened for the 
sound of the water as It eddied round the piers 
of the Ponte Santa Trlnlta close by. But the 
nIght-wInd was cold, and Griselda's voice was 
too precious to be allowed any risks. She 
hastily shut the casement and rang her bell. 
Lulse reappeared, and at once proceeded to 
relight the candles. Inwardly grumbling at her 
young mistress's perversity. 

*' Bring me some tea, please, Lulse. My 
head aches." 

Griselda threw off her dress and flung It 
on the floor ; she wrapped herself In a shawl 
and lay down upon the sofa, closing her eyes 
as If she wished to sleep. Lately she had 
found sleep In the daytime a necessity, for 
she lived In the midst of a whirl of gaiety 
and excitement, wearing enough for her deli- 
cate frame. But no sleep came to the tired 


eyelids to-day ; and when Luise brought her 
the tea, Griselda raised her head and sat up 
on the sofa, with a bright flush on her usually 
pale cheeks. 

Luise returned to her task by the table, on 
which lay the dainty raiment in which the 
young singer was to appear as one of the 
acknowledged beauties of Florence. Beauty is 
seldom grudged to an actress, and Griselda's 
was of too rare a type, in Italy at least, to 
make rivals. She was indulged and petted by 
every one, and though far from being the best 
singer at the opera, was the most popular of 
all the ladies of the company. Griselda did 
not seem moulded for the stage somehow, and 
it was generally prophesied that she would 
early quit her profession and crystallise as a 
brilliant wife. Meantime she lived in hand- 
some rooms, had plenty of money at her dis- 
posal, and moved in a higher class of society 
than her position might have led one to expect. 
Mr Mortimer was industrious and seemingly re- 
formed. He appeared careful of his daughter, 
and anxious to keep doubtful companions of 


his own away from her. Her work, though 
never thoroughly Hked by herself, was suffi- 
ciently familiar to be no longer a bugbear. 
What more did she want ? 

Luise continued her work for some time in 
silence while Griselda sipped her tea. Pres- 
ently she asked, " What jewels will please das 
Frdulein for to-night ? " 

Griselda did not answer, and presently Luise 
produced a little box wrapped in pink tissue- 

" You will wear this, perhaps ? " said the 
maid, opening it and displaying the con- 

Griselda's eyes blazed, and Luise feared 
she had made a false move. She liked the 
American gentleman, and was anxious to 
favour him. 

'* Where did that come from, Luise ? " 

The maid pointed to the bouquet which Mr 
Martin had given Griselda himself. 

*' Take it away," said the young girl, lying 
down again and closing her eyes. She was 
exasperated, but did not wish Luise to know it. 


" It Is pretty. He has good taste that Mr 
Martin," said Liiise. 

*' He has no business to send me presents. 
Take It away." 

Lulse looked very grave, and came over to 
her mistress. 

" Fraulein, you have not said ' No ' to that 
gentleman ? " 

Griselda started up Incensed. '' Lulse, will 
you be quiet ? What do you mean ? I have 
nothing to say to Mr Martin or to any one. I 
don't like that American with his long thin hair. 
Why can't he have It cut like another man ? " 

'' His hair matters nothing, Fraulein. He 
Is rich." 

" I daresay." 

*' And a good man." 

*' Very likely." 

''And, Fraulein Griselda, you wear the jewels 
the Count SchouvarowskI has sent, though you 
wish not to marry him." 

" Very well. I will never wear them again. 
Listen to me, Lulse. I am not going to 
marry any one, and I won't have you talk 


about it. That Russian gentleman Is only 
my friend. He does not really want me to 
marry him. It Is nonsense he talks. He 
thinks he cares a great deal more than he 
really cares. He will go away and forget all 
about me. If he really cared, do you think I 
would take his presents, or let him talk to me, 
or anything ? I would not. I would not 
hurt him or any one for the world. I won't 
have you talk as if I was a sort of flirt. I am 
not. You know I am not And that Ameri- 
can gentleman is nothing at all to me. He 
has annoyed me about something else to- 
night, so there are two reasons why I won't 
have his necklace. Take It away, and give It 
back to him. You had no right to take It, 
Luise. If people give me things, let them 
bring them openly." 

'' Gtttl' said Luise, removing the trinket 
from Griselda's sight. The young girl lay 
still, but her thoughts were not pleasant ones. 
Presently she looked up petulantly. 

*' What a fuss you are making with that 
gown. Do, please, finish It quickly." 


" You must be beautiful this evening, Frau- 
lein. The foreign prince will be there/' 

*' Will he notice how the lace is sewn on my 
frock ? I don't want to go to-night. I don't 
like it. Luise, do you like being a servant ? " 

" I, Fraulein ? What say you ? " 

" I don't like It." 

*' I don't like being a servant." 

*' You are no servant, Fraulein." 

" Standing up to sing and amuse all those 

" When you are a rich jFrau, you will give 
parties yourself, and have only yourself to 

'* That will be horrid." 

" Fraulein, you are cross. I say only what 
you say." 

" I hate people to do that. I like to be 
contradicted. It would be odious to spend 
one's life being amused by other people. It 
Is better to amuse them ; only I don't like to 
be paid for It. I don't want the money. I 
get enough at the opera. I should like to go 


and sing to them without being paid for It. 
Luise, wouldn't you rather brush my hair and 
sew my lace without being paid for It ? I 
don't suppose you would, though," she added, 
breaking Into a laugh. Lulse laughed too, as 
the best way of answering such a peculiar 
question. The laugh did Griselda good. She 
jumped up and donned her evening array with 
her usual good-humour. 

Bitterly anxious, however, was the poor 
child during the whole evening, keeping her 
Russian friend as near her as she could, even 
tolerating the American. Once or twice she 
shrank Into some secluded nook, where she 
could escape from observation. Always this 
happened when one special figure came near 
her — a tall, muscular, English figure — bearing 
a handsome, bold face, which to Griselda was 
the most terrible face she knew. Once this 
man noticed her hiding-place, and followed 
her to it. It was the only occasion on which 
he spoke to her during the evening. For five 
minutes he imprisoned her, and then allowed 
her to issue from her retreat, her hand resting 


on his arm as lightly as if she found it red- 
hot. All the world, so to speak, saw the 
private conference, and formed their own 
conjectures. Griselda dared venture into no 
more secret corners. The world smiled, and 
said she had no longer an object in doing so. 

Another English lady was present, who 
bore away the palm of beauty. This w^as 
Griselda's cousin, Mrs Temple - Mortimer, 
who, with her husband, was passing through 
the Italian capital. She would have patron- 
ised Griselda, but the girl drew away from 
her. Griselda was too proud to vaunt her 
rich relations. Only once, when the above- 
mentioned terror passed over her, she fled to 
Mrs Mortimer's side. 

'' Let me stay here, Agnes, just for a 
minute," she gasped, bewildering Agnes, who 
had never known an agitation of this sort. 

But Mrs Temple-Mortimer was astonished 
at Griselda's beauty and popularity. 

*' How lovely she is !" said Agnes, warmly, 
as she and Oliver drove away. 

" Never saw a girl so improved," returned 


he, with as much enthusiasm as he was cap- 
able of expressing or feeling. 

They had taken their last view of Griselda, 
as she stood waiting for her carriage, the 
centre of a group of persons all vying with 
one another which should please her most. 
She was very demure and dignified, but still 
pleased and bright. Her delicate cheek was 
flushed ; her deep eyes sparkled ; her loose, 
curling hair gleamed golden under the lamp- 
light. Agnes carried that pleasant, graceful 
picture In her eyes for many a day, till an- 
other took its place, and forbade her to smile 
as she thought of It. 

" She Is like the heroine of a fairy tale," 
said Agnes ; '' quite different from any girl I 
have seen before.'' 

" She Is not like any actress I ever saw," 
said Oliver, gruffly. He had admired Gris- 
elda to-night, but was tired of her now. Agnes 
always had her thoughts filled by some one 
other than himself. 



A WEEK passed. Oliver and Agnes were 
gone. The American had made his pro- 
posals and had been rejected. He was al- 
ready on his way back to New York, and was 
beginning to smile over his folly in falling in 
love with an actress. 

The Russian count was gone also. Very 
sudden had seemed his departure to Griselda, 
who was not aware that he had intended to go 
at least fifty times before. 

" My mother writes that she desires my 
presence," he explained, ruefully. " I am a 
dutiful son, jMademoiselle." 

" I am glad to hear it,'" said Griselda. 

" You will come to St Petersburg, Made- 
moiselle ? At least give me the satisfaction 


of knowing that I shall once again behold that 
angelic countenance/' 

*' When we meet again," said Griselda, 
gravely, *' I shall require to know the name 
of my successor in your esteem." 

'' Mademoiselle, you can have no successor. 
In former times I may have sighed for others; 
in those days I was a fool, and blind. When 
one has rejoiced in the sunshine, can one again 
regard a wax taper ? " 

" Oh, will you never talk sense ? '' cried 
Griselda, wearily. *' You tire me with this 
foolish chatter. Why can you not be your- 
self ? When you are sensible, and talk like 
a human being, I rather like you. I think I 
shall miss you a little when you are gone." 

'* The kindest word you ever spoke to me, 
Mademoiselle. It almost inclines me to stay 
a little longer." 

" No ; you must go to your mother ; and I 
hope she will punish you for your scandalous 

waste of time. Now, if I had a mother " 

she checked herself, and, rising, said, '' I must 
go and practise." 


As the young fellow walked off, Griselda 
leaned against the window, and nodded to 
him playfully ; then she turned away, feeling 
a little sad. The Count rushed to a florist, 
and left an order that the young lady was 
to be supplied with the choicest flowers every 
day for two months. Then he turned to a 
jeweller, and bought a gold locket, marked 
with his Initials. It reached Griselda; and 
though she never wore It, she had not the 
heart to refuse It. 

The Count was an Idle, foolish, extravac^ant 
boy; but there was good stuff in him, and 
Griselda divined It. By the by, a few years 
later he married a Russian orlrl of his own 
rank, and a very affectionate and faithful hus- 
band and father he made. He always kept 
Griselda's picture, and sometimes broke forth 
Into raptures about her to his wife, who never 
thought of being jealous. They were good, 
simple, trusting souls both of them. 

Griselda had once feared that she migrht 
In time cease to expect ''good stufl"" In her 
friends. It was a relief to find that time had 


not come yet, and that a bad man made her 
shudder now more than ever before. There 
were several of her acquaintances, several of 
her father's friends, before whom she had long 
been used to shudder ; now there was one the 
mere mention of whose name made her heart 
beat with fear. A terrible doom seemed to be 
overtaking her, and the frightened, impulsive 
girl fancied there was no escape. 

One often meets such men as Captain 
Castleton in foreign towns where there are 
plenty of life and good society, — men of good 
birth, with the outward manners of gentlemen, 
with plenty of money and friends, but who find 
It convenient to live abroad, whither, it may 
be, scandal has not followed them, or where it 
has lost Its sting. Captain Castleton found 
himself admired by foreigners of distinction, 
and civilly treated by his compatriots out of 
England. He had sufficient artistic taste to 
enjoy the fair Italian city, and men of his 
stamp can find amusement in any town. 
Everywhere he was seen In the best society, 
and In general was well received : on the few 


occasions when he had been snubbed, his 
effrontery and self-possession had carried him 
through the humiHation scathless. 

This man had fallen in love with Griselda — 
a strange circumstance, one might think ; but 
he had scarcely ever heard her speak more 
than twenty words, and her beauty and man- 
ner had struck him as fascinating and uncom- 
mon. Probably his love would have been as 
evanescent as it was superficial ; but he had 
offered to marry her, and he and Mr Mor- 
timer, who owed him a large gambling debt, 
contracted soon after the artist's arrival in 
Florence, had concluded a bargain to the 
satisfaction of both parties. 

A favourite subject with novelists is the 
love that springs up in the heart of a pure 
and high-minded girl for a man best described 
in the opposite terms. Instances of such an 
affection, rash and too often disastrous, there 
undoubtedly are in real life ; but I believe 
them to be comparatively rare, and generally 
but little to the credit of the pure and high- 
minded girl. Ignorant she probably is — and 


Ignorance is her best excuse ; but where In 
her Is the feminine '* Instinct" of which we 
hear so much ? 

Griselda, Innocent herself as a Httle child, 
was happily not wanting In Instinct, nor un- 
happily In knowledge, of a sad kind, perhaps, 
for so young a girl. She cringed from Castle- 
ton when she saw him first ; she hated him as 
his designs became evident to her. It was 
never easy to force Griselda to anything, and 
both her father and the unwelcome suitor had 
to proceed cautiously. No formal proposal 
was addressed to her, and her father said 
nothing on the subject. But they were en- 
tangling her, and she perceived it. The 
American was not the only person who had 
hinted that a report of her engagement was 
spreading far and wide. She was terrified 
out of her wits ; too much frightened to think 
of anything clearly ; too much frightened to 
consider what was the most they could do to 
her, or whether resistance were really hope- 
less. Griselda had very little self-confidence — 
very little belief in her own powers of resist- 


ance. An intangible enemy Is ever the hard- 
est to combat, and Griselda knew not where 
or how to beofin her defence. Her father was 
apparently the same to her as ever : if he were 
binding her, It was with Invisible chains. Cap- 
tain Castleton was always outwardly civil and 
respectful In his manner. She had nothing to 
catch hold of — nothing of which she could com- 
plain. Had she accused him or her father of 
circulating the report Mr Martin had brought 
her, either would have denied the accusation 
with an affectation of perfect surprise and in- 
nocence. But Griselda never doubted about 
them for an instant. 

** Some day they will take me at unawares, 
and then they will force me to do it," she 
groaned, without pausing to think if such a 
thing were possible. '' Oh, If I had one friend 
— -just one ! " 

Lulse, the faithful, but not always judicious, 
maid, saw the danger also, though she never 
spoke of it. '' I will take no money from 
/iwzj' she said, ''and admit no presents.'' 
But Captain Castleton offered no bribes, and 


with the exception of an occasional bouquet 
sent by Mr Mortimer, he brought no presents. 

Griselda did not trust Luise ; she looked at 
everything from the point of view of a lady's- 
maid — a faithful one, perhaps ; but still a 

" My thoughts are not your thoughts," said 
Griselda, sadly but not irreverently ; " neither 
are my ways your ways.'' She took out a 
letter from Ralph Lindsay and read it for the 
twentieth time. There was one sentence in it 
that she noted particularly. '' If I can get a 
holiday I should like to come and see you. 
I have not been in Florence, and I lonof to 
hear your voice again." 

*' Oh, if Ralph were only here ! " Griselda, 
thinking of him, seemed to feel him a tower of 
strength sufficient for any amount of protection. 
" Perhaps he will come," she said, and added 
under her breath, *' Mr Temple said I should 
be better as his wife.'' 

The days passed slowly as a round of hor- 
rible anxiety. Griselda longed to go away for 
at least a temporary respite. She tried to catch 


cold, to hurt herself in any small way that 
would prevent her from singing for a short 
time. Night after night, as she appeared on 
the stage, she felt Castleton's basilisk eyes 
fixed upon her, and her heart thrilled in 
despair. Her old horror of being stared at, 
which, though lulled to sleep, was not de- 
stroyed, returned now, with this man as the 
impersonation of the irreverence she dreaded. 
Once more she thought of running away, and 
once more cowardice restrained her. *' Where 
could I eo ? " she said. " It would do no eood." 

In this frame of mind, tortured by fear, and 
dreading each hour as It came, she one day 
told her father she was tired, and would lie 
down In the little salon if he would promise 
to admit no one. 

'' Very well, my dear," said Mr Mortimer ; 
" but I am coming to you in a little while, 
to speak to you of our plans. Will that tire 

" No, papa, not a bit. Ah, yes ; let us leave 
this place. Let us go to London." 

*' Griselda, you know we agreed that a 


smaller place Is better for you. You would 
be lost in London.'' 

*' Let me rest now, papa. Come in an hour, 
and we will talk then. I will consider a little 
what is best. And, papa, remember; let no 
one in." 

Mr Mortimer retired and wrote a little note, 
which he sent to Captain Castleton. Then he 
waited. Visitors called, and he told them, 
" My daughter sees only her fiancd this after- 
noon. About an hour passed ; the day had 
closed, but Griselda sent away the servant 
with the lamp, and lay still in the gathering 
darkness. She had fallen Into a light slumber, 
when she heard a tap at the door, and her 
father's voice saying — 

" Griselda, are you here ? " 

" Yes," she said, wearily, and was conscious 
that the door opened, and that some one was 

"■ Papa," she said, closing her eyes again, " I 
am very tired. Don't ask me to talk. I want 
to rest. I am sleepy. Come and sit here, but 
let me rest a little longer." 


Very touching was the sweet, pleading 
voice ; but it was not Griselda's father who 
heard It. 

She suddenly became aware that the step 
approaching was not Mr Mortimer's, and she 
started up to find Castleton by her side, a look 
of great amusement on his face. He held 
out his hand to her, but Griselda paid no 
heed. He would have detained her, but she 
was too quick for him. Like lightning she 
fled from him, rushed wildly up -stairs, and 
locked herself into her own room. She was 
too much bewildered by the terror that had 
succeeded her sleepiness to appreciate rightly 
what she had done. Not till long afterwards 
did she question if It would not have been 
better to have spoken to the intruder calmly, 
and to have left him quietly. She sat trem- 
bling on the floor, listening to the harsh 
laughter of her father and his friend below, 
and saying over and over again, that nothing, 
nothing, nothing, would induce her to run 
these risks longer. 

When Lulse, frightened by her mistress's 


long solitude, insisted on being allowed to 
enter, Griselda gave her a letter, " to put in 
the post yourself, please, Luise, and don't tell 
any one/' 

It was to Ralph Lindsay. 

" You told me to call you if ever I wanted 
you. I do want you. Please, dear Ralph, 
come, come ! " 



About a month after the events narrated in 
the last chapter, Phihp Temple was sitting late 
one eveninor in his den. He looked rather 
woe-begone. The " Company " was not get- 
ting on very well, and one or two of the share- 
holders were inclined to grumble. Mr Temple, 
senior, was making sundry alterations at the 
Moat of which Philip strongly disapproved. 
Aenes had written that the church restoration 
was proceeding gaily, and that the building of 
the new school was put off indefinitely ; his 
own accounts were rather in a mess, and he 
was thinking ruefully of various plans which 
would have to be abandoned for lack of funds. 
A sudden leap on the part of the " Duke of 
Wellington " had caused the overturning of a 
cup of coffee on a valuable book lent to Philip 


by a very prim friend ; and he was In the act 
of mopping up the fluid awkwardly enough, 
while his abuse of the poor animal (who was 
running round the room gleefully wagging his 
tail) was interrupted by an occasional cough — 
for Philip had a cold and sore throat, and felt 
generally miserable. 

The door opened, and in came Ralph 

'' Hallo ! " said Philip, extending two fingers, 
but adding no word of welcome. Ralph looked 
provokingly cheerful. 

'' What a mess you are making," said he, 

''A most valuable edition," groaned the 
delinquent ; " only twelve copies extant, and 
this one belonging to Bransome of all people." 

'' Rather rubbish, isn't It ? " said Ralph, 
turning over the pages, while Philip contem- 
plated the remaining pool of coffee, considering 
if the pen-wiper or the blotting-paper were the 
more suitable tool wherewith to continue his 
draining operations, the capacity of his pocket- 
handkerchief being exhausted. The Duke of 


Wellington, much excited by Ralph's appear- 
ance, was uttering loud, short barks of most 
bewildering noise, and springing up and down 
to the extreme jeopardy of the inkstand. Philip 
flung the wet pocket-handkerchief at him, and 
echoed, contemptuously — 


" Sorry I spoke," said Ralph, hastily, still 
looking painfully amused by his friend's mis- 
fortunes, and probably thinking what an un- 
comfortable animal a bachelor is. 

Philip threw himself into a chair, motioning 
Ralph to another. 

*' You've got back, have you ? '' 


- Well," said Philip, - how do you do ? " 

" Well, prophet ? " returned Ralph, smiling. 

- Oh, that's it, is It ? Well — how is — our 
young lady ? " 

" Very well and bright," said Ralph. 

- Was she glad to see you ? " 

- Very." 

- Hark at the fellow ! " 

" Your prophecy has come true," said Ralph. 
VOL. II. c 


" So I perceive/' answered Philip, contem- 
platively. He did not feel at all so much 
delighted at the news as he would have ex- 
pected to feel. He could not even concentrate 
his thoughts upon It. They were roaming 
over fifty different things, and he forgot that 
Ralph would expect some additional remark 
from him. He wished Lindsay would not look 
so abominably pleased and self-satisfied. Such 
an appearance was out of all harmony with his 
preconceived notion of him. In his mind's 
eye he saw a different Ralph Lindsay alto- 
gether. Philip felt a cold shiver pass over him 
as Ralph's face suddenly rose up before his 
mind's eye : quite a different face from any 
he had associated with Ralph for a long time, 
— a patient, suffering face, with yearning eyes. 
Philip sat up straight and looked at the man 
before him, trying to lay that Importunate 

Ralph, knowing nothing of what was passing 
in his friend's mind, was greatly amused at his 
manner of receiving the news. 

** Come, Temple, congratulate me." 


** With all my heart," said Philip, mechani- 
cally. He was trying very hard to get into the 
present, but his thoughts would wander. And 
he had a vague sense of disappointment, why 
he could not imagine. After considering it 
for a moment, he put it down to the sore 
throat — a most dispiriting complaint, as every 
one knows. 

*' You were no false prophet, you see." 

'' No." 

" Come, cheer up," said Ralph ; " I daresay 
the old edition is not much damaged after all." 

'' What are you talking about ? " 

** What are you thinking of?" 

A new idea occurred to Ralph. He looked 
at his friend earnestly for a minute. 

" Philip, my dear fellow ! Surely — are you 
sure you did not want her yourself ? " Ralph 
looked heartily sorry now. The remark 
brought Philip into the present at last. 

" Nonsense, Lindsay ; I answered that ques- 
tion long ago. Such an idea never even 
crossed my mind. Dismiss it from yours, I 
entreat you. No ; I was thinking of some- 


thing quite different. But I want to hear 
about Griselda. Tell me the whole history." 

Ralph was quite ready to do so ; he had 
plenty to tell. Philip listened not particularly 
attentively. He did not say much — indeed 
was vexed with himself for not saying more. 
He did not feel enthusiastic about this mar- 
riage. It was odd, considering the trouble 
he had taken in working for it. When Ralph 
came and stood beside him in the window, 
putting his arm in Philip's, and thanking him 
for his share in helping him to gain Griselda's 
love, Philip felt inclined to snub poor, grateful 
Ralph. He restrained himself, however, and 
answered civilly and truly, though not exactly 

" I am thoroughly glad, Lindsay. YouVe 
a capital fellow : just the man for her. And 
when is it to be ? " 

" Not yet. We don't see our way to marry- 
ing prudently yet." 

'' Well, a long engagement has its merits, 
though, to be sure, you two don't need it. 
You have nothing to find out about each 


Other." (That was a stupid, lugubrious thing 
to hint at. PhiHp bit his Hp with vexation. 
What was the matter with him ? What would 
Ralph think of him ?) 

" Well, I hope it won't be very long. I 
have a promise of a good rise in a year or 

" And your relatives ?'' 

" Ah ! there will be difficulties there, I am 
afraid. At present I am not inclined to men- 
tion the matter. Once they see her it will be 
all right. But as the time of our marriage is 
indefinite, I don't see any necessity for talking 
of our enofao^ement." 

" Hum," said Philip — another stupid remark. 

" Women," said Ralph, '' are apt to take 
prejudices ; and my sister is — a little severe 

'' The class to which we belong," com- 
menced Philip, philosophically, but did not 
finish the observation. He was not in a 
talking mood. But he repeated — 

'' I am awfully glad, Lindsay, for both your 


After Ralph had gone, Philip sat meditat- 
ing and abusing himself. What had come to 
him ? Nothing but a sore throat, of course. 
He was tremendously glad about this be- 
trothal, and immensely interested too. He 
would go and see Ralph to-morrow, and tell 
him so, less lamely than he had done this 
evening ; and he would write to the little 
girl and congratulate her. 

And he wished his mother were here to 
cure this beastly cold, which gave a fellow 
the blues. 

And what folly had put that stupid idea 
into Ralph's head, that he had ever thought 
of marrying Griselda himself? 



So these two, Ralph and Griselda, were at 
last avowed lovers ; except that they wrote 
oftener to one another than before, nothing 
had changed much outwardly. They each 
lived almost exactly as they had done before. 
But their sentiments had altered. Ralph was 
tranquilly, but thoroughly happy. He had 
got the great wish of his heart : Griselda was 
to be his, and of her own free will. He knew 
she would be happy with him : such love as 
he bore her could not but make her happy. 
She said so herself Ralph was troubled by 
no doubts of Griselda's affection for him. His 
own love was of a very quiet kind, and it 
occasioned him no misgivings that hers should 
be the same. 

Griselda was happy also. The difficulties 


in her path seemed to have suddenly rolled 
away, like the mist on a summer's morning. 
Castleton had disappeared from Florence ; 
Mr Mortimer had been frightened by the bad 
result of his scheming, and had readily pro- 
mised all that Ralph required of him. He 
trusted to time for the arrangement of matters 
more to his own liking. Griselda did not 
believe in her father, but she had lost her 
fear of him. What could he do to her now ? 
One line to Ralph, with the vaguest hinting 
of distress, would bring him to her side. And 
she liked the feeling that Ralph belonged to 
herself. She had felt terribly cut off from 
him since she had left London. She was so 
fond of Ralph ; and it was delightful to know 
that she was making him happy — dear, kind, 
good, old Ralph, who had done so much for 
her. Griselda did not want to be married 
yet. After all, her present life was agreeable 
enough on the whole, and she did not want to 
leave it. She could not fancy herself a wife 
and a singer too, and she did not want to give 
up singing yet. Her success so far warranted 


the hope of further success in the future. And 
now that Castleton was not there to stare at 
her, she did not dishke appearing in pubHc so 
very, very much. At least, she was generally 
able to forget her dislike when the actual 
moment of performance had come. How she 
had hated the idea of it once ! Griselda re- 
membered that time in London, and sighed, 
and said, '' I wish those days were back 
again ! " But, after a minute's consideration, 
she checked herself '' What a silly wish ! I 
am so much happier and more comfortable 
now." But still there was a little, puzzled 
siofh of reofret. 

Often Ralph used to walk over to Philip 
Temple's house in the evening. He was the 
only person to whom the lover could talk of 
his betrothed. Ralph liked talking of her, and 
Philip liked listening. After that first evening 
Ralph never said a word which Philip felt In- 
clined to snub. Their sentiments seemed to 
accord perfectly in this matter. They made 
exactly the right remarks to one another. Of 
course Ralph talked the most : he had the 


most to say. Philip's part was chiefly to lis- 
ten and assent, with an occasional suggestion 
thrown in. It suited him exactly: talking was 
rather a superficial business with him. 

Ah, how happy Ralph looked in those days! 
Philip liked watching him. There is some- 
thing very delightful in watching happiness, — 
if our own condition Is not too painfully dis- 
similar : it seems the nearest approach in this 
world to the divine harmony, which we all feel 
must exist somewhere. And Ralph's happi- 
ness was of a peculiarly harmonious type. He 
was always quiet, reasonable, and straightfor- 
ward. There was nothing angular about him. 
He was not self-conscious; he was not exi- 
gent ; he was not spoiled by satiety. He had 
what he wanted, and was thankful ; he hoped 
for more in the future, and waited patiently 

All this during the first few months of the 
engagement. By degrees a little change came. 
Ralph did not so often go to his friend for 
sympathy ; they did not talk of Griselda quite 
so much. Ralph seemed a little more anxious 


to hurry the marriage, and a little more dis- 
satisfied by the hole in his purse. 

All that was natural enough. But a little of 
the yearning look had come back to his eyes : 
I daresay no one noticed It. 

Philip wrote to Griselda when he first heard 
of her enofaofement. It was an amuslnof, care- 
fully-written letter, that had not been accom- 
plished without a rough copy. Griselda liked 
it, and read it several times. She put it away 
amone her treasures, with two or three letters 
she had received from him in her childhood. 

Philip had kept all the letters she had writ- 
ten to him during that early correspondence. 
The paper was turning yellow, and the Ink 
was faded. They were rather ill-spelt, and in 
a curious jumble of two or three languages, 
sometimes puzzling their recipient. The writ- 
ing was large and round, between carefully 
ruled lines that had caused the little scribe 
much anxiety, because she had had to do it 
all herself, and the round ruler had been apt 
to run away at the critical moment. But such 
as they were, Philip had kept them. They lay 


with a lock of her golden hair, and the words 
of the first sono^ he had heard her sinor locked 
away in a drawer that no one had seen open 
except himself. 

In the next drawer were all the letters 
Philip had received from Agnes. After their 
engagement had been broken off they had 
not returned each other's letters. Philip had 
not thought of their doing so ; he had written 
nothing that he wished recalled : her letters 
were a sad memorial. 

But he seldom thought of them now ; he 
had not read them for years. If he looked 
into the drawer, it was with no emotion be- 
yond a quiet smile at himself. Agnes had 
never read his letters since the day she had 
lost him. She could not have borne to do 
so ; they would have jarred upon her too pain- 
fully now. 



" And where are you going ? " asked Ralph. 

'' Dolce far nieiite'' replied Philip. 


'' People are too busy in this northern land 
of ours." 

"You don't seem to me oppressed with 

" I'll tell you what it is," said Philip, sitting 
up straight in his chair ; " it is not the work 
which kills ; — it is that abominable feeling of 
duty we Englishmen have. For instance, you 
think me an idle dog ; but I get as much worn 
out by the eternal conviction that I ought to 
be doing something, as other men do by their 
labours. That's where the bliss of childhood 
lies : we play then without fretting and fum- 


ing over the things we ought perhaps to be 

" Only perhaps ? " 

'' Only perhaps ; and yet how we fret and 
fume ! We think ourselves so desperately Im- 
portant — as if the world would turn the other 
way unless we Interfered In the machinery." 

'' So you are going to cut your duties for 
a while." 

" Exactly. I will go to some place where 
the tree of conscience does not flourish. For 
fear mine should wither and die, I will leave It 
behind — in your keeping, If you like." 

'' Recall the last sentence. It makes non- 
sense of a very tolerable parable." 

*' Not quite nonsense, I think," said Philip, 
leanlne his chin on his hand and considerinor. 

"Where will you seek it, this conscienceless 
country ? " 

"In the south, of course. Whither else 
could one go at this time of year, In conscience 
or out of conscience ? '' 

" The south of France ? I was there once — 
a delicious land " 


" I hate that sort of place. All along that 
coast the inhabitants are wide awake and busy 
growing a reputation for their climate. You 
have hotels, and doctors, and consumptives, 
popping up at every corner, and money flying 
about as if the law of gravity had ceased to 
act upon it." 

" One must always shut one's eyes to some- 

" I mean to shut mine In sleep. Did you 
ever find yourself in a town called Pisa ? 'The 
very houses are asleep.' There is grass grow- 
ing in the streets. There Is a great, silent 
cathedral, with a strange, silent, colossal Christ 
gazing down at you from the ceiling, with a 
wonderful placidity of expression, helping the 
Impression of His utter unearthliness. There 
Is a beautiful marble tower, that seems not 
to have energy to hold itself up. There Is 
a noiseless, shadowy river, and all around a 
peaceful country, where you cannot imagine 
any one working hard. The whole place seems 
waitlnor for somethinor. I could dream in Pisa 
for weeks." 



" Will you go to Florence ? " 

" Perhaps. Florence Is wider awake than 
Pisa ; but any of those Italian towns would 
do. Yes, I like Florence. I will go there for 
a few days.'' 

Ralph did not reply at once ; he seemed to 
be thinking of something. But his next remark 
was In the same strain. " And Rome ? You 
will go to Rome, of course." 

" I suppose so. One gets sucked Into Rome 
as Into a whirlpool. But I never sleep well In 
Rome ; there are a great many ghosts about 
there, I think." 

Philip spoke absently, and Ralph had lost 
his aspect of attention. Evidently their 
thoughts had wandered during the last few 

" Griselda Is In Florence again this winter, 
is she not ? " asked Philip abruptly, after a 

- Yes." 

** I must — try to see her," said Philip. 
'' Have you any message — if I settle to go 
there ? " 


Ralph did not answer for a minute. He 
rose and changed his chair, to escape the sun, 
no doubt, which was dazzhng his eyes. 

Neither of the two young men looked well. 
Something of the old cavernous look had re- 
turned to Philip's eyes : he was restless, and 
consciously controlled himself from fidgeting. 
Lately his reading, his talk, his occupations, 
had been more than usually desultory : to 
interest himself had become an effort. Mrs 
Temple thought he was ill, and Philip almost 
thought so himself He knew of no reason 
for the change the last month had brought 
him. That some change had passed over him 
during the past two or three years was equally 
certain, but not equally unaccountable. Two 
years are a long time : one can grow old in 
two years. Philip thought it was old age that 
had rubbed some of the bloom off his life 
during the last two years. But a month had 
no right to aggravate the symptoms, as this 
last month had done. There was no external 
cause for the fact, absolutely none, unless it 
were that his friend Winthrop had left London, 




and that Ralph Lindsay had grown dull and 
silent himself. Philip agreed with his mother 
that he was out of sorts, and needed a change. 
Very likely she was right. The body and the 
mind are curiously dependent on each other. 

Neither did Ralph look well. His face bore 
a harassed, troubled expression. He was pale 
and weary. 

Ralph looked at Philip and wondered if 
anything were the matter with him ; Philip 
looked at Ralph and wondered what was the 
matter with him. But neither of them liked 
to ask the question. After a long pause, 
Ralph said — 

" Temple, I wish you would do something 
for me." 

'' To be sure I will. What ? '^ 

" Go to Florence and see Griselda. I want 
to hear how she is from you. She does not 
write about herself as much as I should like. 
I mean as to whether she is well and comfort- 
able, and — that sort of thing. Do you under- 
stand ? " 

" Yes," said Philip (not quite sure about It, 


however) ; '' you want me to write a long 
account of her ? " 

'' Don't be in a hurry. See her three or four 
times. One visit does not always give a right 

" I wish you could come too, Lindsay." 

*' I wish it myself," said Ralph, sighing 

" There's nothing wrong, is there ? " asked 
Philip gently, hearing the sigh. 

" No, no — nothing wrong. But I should 
like to hear from you. Temple. You would 
tell me if there was anything wrong, would 
you not ? I may trust you, may I not ? " 

" Oh yes," said Philip, not feeling very 
comfortable. " But what is it, my dear man ? 
What's the matter ? " 

" Nothing that I know of," answered the 
other, with a momentary smile ; '' only I wish 
we were married. And that is out of the 
question still, I fear." 

" It would be much better if you were 
married," said Philip gravely, but somewhat 


They talked a little longer, chiefly on matters 
connected with Philip's journey, and did not 
mention Griselda's name again. 

Then Ralph went away. He returned, how- 
ever, in five minutes. 

** I forgot something," he said, not perfectly 
truthfully ; " will you carry this to Griselda ? 
It is a thing she asked me for once." 

Philip took the little parcel and laid It down. 

" I am glad you came back," he said. " I 
did not Hke our adieux. Who knows when 
and how we shall meet aealn ? " 

'' Oh, we shall meet soon, I hope ; and how? 
As we part ; only more cheerfully, I daresay. 
I hope you'll have a jolly time, my dear 

" IVe a great mind not to go/' said Philip, 

'' Why not ? " 

" I don't know. IVe lost spirit in it some- 
how. I don't know what I am going for." 

" Come, you gave your conscience to me, 


" I think I had better have it back. Start- 
ing without a conscience is dangerous. I feel 
choked, Lindsay, by presentiments." 

" Of what ? " 

*' Of evil. Connected with what, I cannot 

" You will leave them behind in the train 
to-morrow," said Ralph, uneasy about his 
friend, who looked strangely unlike himself. 

" I hope so. Lindsay, did you ever speculate 
on the nearness of the unseen? Did you ever 
think you might shut your eyes and reopen 
them in what I call another world — called 
madness by men?" 

"My dear fellow, it is too late at night for 
these morbid fancies. Pack your portman- 
teau and go to bed. Don't encourage this 
state of mind." 

" Good, placid, sensible Ralph ! Do you 
know, that is the way you used to vex your 
little Griselda, telling her not to encourage 
states of mind ? It is an impossible thing to 
do, or not to do ; so she and I find it. We 


don't rule our states of mind. They rule us ; 
they are irresistible. Good night, Lindsay. If 
I die, or go mad, or kill somebody in the 
course of this journey, remember, I had a 

" Nonsense !" said Ralph, and they parted. 

The little parcel for Griselda was so loosely 
wrapped in paper, that Philip saw the con- 
tents as he took it in his hand. It was a 
picture drawn and painted by Ralph in his 
leisure moments — a portrait of Henry. 

Philip shut it up hastily. He had not 
thought much of Henry lately, but the old 
sorrow never required more than a touch to 
bring it to life again. Was Ralph's wound 
healed ? Had he forgotten Henry ? 

Away morbid fancies ! We are starting on 
a pleasure trip. You are not wanted here, 
and do but make a character which, with- 
out you, might be simple and clear as morn- 
ing, dubious in its aim and unsuccessful in 
its work. 

Yet of how few of us is our history a his- 


tory of action and circumstance ! Rather our 
true life-story centres in a few feelings, fancies, 
prejudices, and wishes, which are what we 
mean when we call ourselves " We," and with- 
out allusion to which our history cannot be 



Philip travelled to Florence tolerably rapidly. 
It was a good place to select for a destination : 
he could make further plans there ; he could 
visit Pisa and Genoa, and Bologna from there. 
He did not mean to stay for more than a week 
or two ; he knew Florence by heart already. 

But what is the pleasure of hearing a new 
song, to the delight of again listening to a 
remembered one ; what the amusement of a 
new friend to the love of an old one; what the 
surprise of an unknown land to the interest of 
a familiar one ? Philip had wandered through 
all those narrow, sombre streets ; had rambled 
among all those wooded hills round the fair 
city ; he had dreamed in all the picture-gal- 
leries and churches long ago. What matter ? 
It had all to be done over again. Florence 


was Imperious ; Florence would not be desert- 
ed in a week or two. 

I wonder if it made any difference in Philip's 
love of Florence, that, on this his second visit, 
there was a certain house in the LunQ^ Arno 
Nuova where he was always sure of a wel- 
come ; that In the progress of his sight-seeing 
there was often a sweet face beside him ; a 
slender hand on his arm ; a soft voice whisper- 
ing to him suggestions or replies. That gentle 
presence was familiar enough to him in time 
gone by, to harmonise in the quiet pleasure of 
this return to a well -remembered place; and 
yet it was not destitute of the charm and fas- 
cination of novelty. For Griselda had changed 
since Philip had seen her last : the shy, fright- 
ened child, so anxious and vehement, had 
become a beautiful girl, demure yet gay ; flat- 
tered and courted, but always modest herself, 
and always respected by others. Two years 
of opening life in the great world so full of 
strangers, change a little girl for better or for 
worse. Griselda was changed : was it for 
better or for worse ? Did the increased stead- 


fastness and courage, the greater self-forget- 
fulness and patience, compensate for the sHght 
declension from noble purpose ; the little van- 
ity ; the trifling worldliness of ambition that 
contact with the outer world had caused ? 
The bloom on a plum is a delicate thing ; it 
is difficult to preserve it long in its perfection. 
The plum may be exquisite in scent and flavour 
though some of the bloom be spoiled by rain, 
or the rubbing of the leaves, or the rough 
touch of a careless hand. 

In this her second season in Florence, Gris- 
elda was fully as popular as she had been in 
her first. There was no one who won praise 
so easily as she ; there was no one so much 
patronised and encouraged — no one so much 
lauded and admired. It was all quietly done : 
Griselda never cared to have a crowd round 
her, or to feel herself conspicuous ; but her life 
was a gay, busy, and worldly one ; and a con- 
sequence both of her popularity and of her 
modest reserve, which saved her from being 
much *' talked about/' was, I fear, that the 
English lover whom nobody knew was apt 


to be regarded as a somewhat mythical per- 
sonage by the world at large. Griselda made 
no secret of her engagement, and was suc- 
cessful in avoiding any serious love affairs : 
it never entered into her head to suppose 
there might be danger in her intimacy with 
two or three very particular friends, of the 
honesty of whose purposes she was thorough- 
ly assured. The young Russian Count had 
turned up again ; and though he had never 
ureed his suit since she had told him of her 
betrothal, he was as often at her side as ever. 
Griselda liked it ; she trusted him entirely, and 
the sight of an old friend's face had ever been 
as balm to her eyes. There was a certain 
young Englishman in Florence, Arthur Vivian 
by name, who was continually with her. He 
had introduced himself as a great friend of 
Ralph's (I am afraid the great was an ex- 
aggeration ; he had not seen Ralph above 
half-a-dozen times in his life), and Griselda 
admitted him to her inner circle of friends 
at once. He was honest and good-natured, 
with plenty of money and plenty of time 


for amusing himself. He knew all about 
Griselda's engagement, and would not have 
Interfered with it for the world. But he was 
not at all averse to a flirtation; and he thought 
Griselda very pretty, and far too good for 
''that clerk of a fellow, Lindsay." Mr Mor- 
timer took a fancy to this young Vivian : rich 
young men were often attractive to Griselda's 
father. He encouraged Arthur Vivian's visits, 
and was always singing his praises to Griselda. 
She was pleased, for she was glad when her 
father liked " nice people." Mr Mortimer did 
not seriously Intend his pretty daughter to 
marry Ralph Lindsay, and he formed a theory 
that this rich young man would make an ex- 
cellent husband for her. He said nothing 
about It to either of the young people, for 
evidently Arthur Vivian had no intention of 
the sort yet, and Griselda always needed 
" most careful management ; " but he threw 
them together as much as possible, and talked 
to his friends of the young man's evident pas- 
sion. Several persons who knew nothing of 
Ralph, and who thought the rich, handsome 


young Englishman a very suitable match for 
their little favourite, began to think there was 
" something in It," and to connect the two In 
their thoughts, If not much In their words. 
These whispers did not reach Griselda; and 
If Vivian caught a hint of them, he tossed 
them off with a gay denial. No particular 
harm was done — at least In Florence. Gris- 
elda was a little Indiscreet, perhaps, In her 
demure ladylike way ; but her Intentions were 
all right, and she received the reward of her 
good intentions In so far that she was every- 
where treated with respect. 

Philip Temple thought her improved In 
every way. Certainly she was Improved In 
appearance. In those days Griselda wore 
rich, old - fashioned dresses : she always had 
soft clinging folds about her that were a de- 
light to an artistic eye ; she always moved 
with consummate grace, whether she were 
flitting about with careless ease, or gliding 
from place to place with gravity and pre- 
cision. There was always a delicate varying 
bloom on her cheek, telling of health, and, I 


think, of contentment ; there was often a 
sparkle in her dark, earnest eyes, and often 
a smile playing round the rosy lips, from 
which none but musical sounds could issue. 
Griselda had beautiful hair, that In the sun- 
light shone like gold ; behind It fell in long 
massive curls ; over her forehead it rose in 
loose, abundant waves, giving a piquancy 
to the smallness and delicacy of the face 

Griselda was a little vain of her hair ; she 
may have been a little vain altogether. Beauty 
cannot be hidden from its possessor, and I 
think It must carry a little satisfaction with 
it. But whether that sort of satisfaction be 
deservedly called vanity, I am by no means 
sure. At any rate, we plain women had 
best not throw stones at It, for I doubt that 
our envy is aught but a flimsy enough glass- 

Don't you pity this young girl with her 
lovely face ; and her sweet liquid voice, so 
soft and yet so full — apt to bring tears to the 
listener's eyes, even when most joyous ? Don't 


you see whirlpools lying in wait for her little 
bark, sailing so joyously now ? 

She is so young, so unprotected, so vehe- 
ment and impulsive, and yet so thoughtful and 
earnest ! There is a touch of wildness in her 
character, an impatience and wilfulness that 
call for a stronor hand over her. She has 


none. Her father is simply letting her alone 
at present ; and Ralph is far away, where the 
voices that reach him are not always trust- 
worthy, even when they mean to speak the 

The tears fall from my eyes as I write. 
That old proverb is so true, that things go 
wrong all too easily, and my story is not a 
bright one, though I would fain make it 
so. In those dark earnest eyes there is a 
capacity for sorrow that cannot be without 
its meaning. I hear a rustling of the wings 
of Fate hovering round the head of her 
victim. Ah, that black-robed messenger of 
mystery and pain ! How strange is her 
selection and her power ! how terrible is 
her silent, invisible following ; her withering 



touch, which no struggling nor praying can 
remove ! 

Florence has grown very dismal, I think. 
In olden days I remember no ceaseless, steady 
downpour such as this ; no moaning wind ; 
no black shades upon the Arno. Those fair 
hills used to look down smilingly on the beauti- 
ful city with its grand domes and marble towers. 
But to-night, in my little gloomy room of the 
old-fashioned inn, I can scarcely see, though 
it is not yet four o'clock. I will pause awhile, 
and wander into the vast, dusky cathedral. 
Perhaps I may stay for vespers in the gather- 
ing darkness, and hear the simple worshippers 
repeat the paternoster. 

Philip Temple often turned in for vespers, 
thouorh I doubt if he ever listened to a word. 
Once Griselda sat by his side. A religious 
service was always a strange mystery to her. 
He liked watching her rapt attention, her 
wondering child-like earnestness. Once she 
laid her hand suddenly on his arm : some- 
thing had puzzled, interested her. He turned 


away, then looked down on her half-surprised, 
half-pained little face. 

'' Am I falling in love with this girl ? " 
asked Philip of himself that night. But he 
answered boldly, '' No." 



On Philip's first visit to Griselda he found 
young Vivian with her. It annoyed him a 
little. They seemed to know each other very 
well. Such a thing was sure to annoy a per- 
son who did not know her very well now, 
but who had once been her great friend. It 
was jealousy on Philip's part, of course. Jeal- 
ousy Is the subtle cause of many a disagree- 
able sensation. Philip thought he was jealous 
for Ralph. He would not join in the conver- 
sation much, nor would he address himself to 
Mr Mortimer. He sat moodily apart, looking 
at Griselda. 

How lovely she was ! Surely that delicate 
rose on her cheek was something new ; but it 
was pure nature — It changed so constantly. 
Why did not all faces vary like that ? Her 


eyes, her lips — each new thought lent a new 
expression. Yet it was a restful face too. 
Once, during a pause, the sweetest calm stole 
over it ; some one expression had seemingly- 
been so beautiful, that kind Time had paused 
to fix it. She was looking towards Philip, 
though not at him. He could see her dis- 
tinctly. He wished the pause might last 
indefinitely. Surely any change now could 
but spoil. Not so. She turned to speak : a 
smile parted the rosy lips ; the pearl-like teeth 
glistened. She laughed. How sweet and 
musical was her lauo^h ! Vivian o^ave her 
something to look at. She bent her head, 
resting it on her hand. The fairy fingers 
w^ere buried in the mass of rippling gold. 
One curl fell forward and shadowed the 
rounded cheek. A question arose about some 
music. She sang a bar, lightly, carelessl}' ; per- 
fectly. Philip lingered on, no longer moody, 
but still silent. He did not want to talk; he 
only wanted to look at her. She seemed un- 
conscious of his gaze. It did not disconcert 
her. It seemed to her perfectly natural. He 


was her old, old friend. She had met him 
with perfect frankness : she was longing to 
talk to him. 

Vivian went away. Then Griselda turned 
to Philip. 

" Now tell me all about Ralph, Mr Temple. 
When did you see him last ? How Is he ? 
What messages did he send to me ? " 

Philip was charmed. It was just the right 
thing for her to say. He answered quickly, 
earnestly, with a smile. She listened atten- 
tively. He liked talking of Ralph, he thought ; 
indeed any topic would have been welcome. 
And she liked listening. It was so pleasant 
to hear that voice again ; to see that face 
bending towards her. 

As he was leaving the house, he muttered 
something about only a few days in Flor- 

*' Ah ! stay longer than that," said Griselda, 

That niorht he heard her slno^. She had 
Improved wonderfully since he had heard her 
last. She was less self-conscious than then — 


more womanly ; equally modest and ladylike. 
Her voice ranof In his ears all niorht. 

The next day he saw her again. The 
young Russian was leaving her as he entered. 
Griselda bade the Count good-bye with a 
sweet sisterly gravity and kindliness that was 
fascination itself. Philip Temple felt Interested 
In the young lad at once. If Vivian had come 
in then he would have been forgiven. Gris- 
elda greeted her friend with outstretched 
hands, and Mr Mortimer called a welcome 
from the Inner room. Philip talked of Ralph ; 
talked of her singing ; asked her to sing to 
him. She complied at once. She made him 
sing. They talked of music. Philip told her 
of the organ at the Moat. He could play on 
the organ ; so could she a little. She thought 
it the finest instrument imaginable. She liked 
going into the churches to listen to the organs. 
She knew a place where there was an organ 
she might play on sometimes. Would he go 
there with her some day ? Then she sang to 
him again. 

Mr Mortimer and his friend proposed that 


they should all go into one of the picture- 

The two painters walked together; the 
young man and the girl wandered about 
alone. She showed him her favourite pic- 
tures ; he showed her his. 

Once they saw a picture that reminded 
them of Ralph — the beautiful suffering face of 
some patient saint. It was far more beautiful 
than Ralph's, but it was like his. Griselda's 
eyes filled with tears. 

'' I hope he will never look so sad as that," 
she said. 

" I have seen him just so," answered Philip, 

Griselda's wondering eyes turned to him, 
but he did not answer their silent question. 
Of what was Philip thinking ? Of many 
things: but all belonging to the past. No; 
Ralph would never look so sad again. They 
were both quite sure of that. 

A few days later, Philip wrote to Ralph the 
letter he had promised — the long letter about 


She was well — very well ; and seemed very 
happy. She worked hard, and appeared to 
like her work ; and her father was kind to 
her. She had a great many friends, all cap- 
ital fellows (altered, on consideration, to " nice 
people"). She talked of him constantly. She 
had never been so lovely before. Her voice 
was perfection. Ralph was the luckiest fellow 
in the world, and might be quite at his ease 
about her. Here Philip paused. Should he 
send that last sentence ? Yes ; there was no 
reason why he should not. Ralph had had 
some stupid fancy about her when he had 
seen him last. Better expel it at once. Philip 
added only that he intended staying a little 
longer in Florence before going on to Rome. 
He was enjoying himself; wished Ralph were 
with him. Warm weather here, and continual 
sunshine. He signed and sealed the letter, 
then posted it on his way to the opera. He 
smiled as he walked along : his step was light, 
his mien cheerful. '' Well done, old Ralph ! " 
he said to himself, as he watched one graceful 
little figure (somehow the other performers 


appeared to him very uninteresting) ; '' she is 
a little pearl. What a pity all women are not 
like that ! " 

" Am I falling in love with her ? " he asked 
himself suddenly, for the first time ; and an- 
swered, boldly, " No ; she belongs to Ralph." 

The letter reached its destination on a cold 
foggy morning. Ralph shivered as he opened 
it, and his fingers trembled. He put it down 
again, and paused to make his tea. He was 
not in a hurry to read it. Of late his letters 
had not made him cheerful — not even those 
with a foreign post-mark, written in a round, 
rather childish hand. They were not very 
frequent those letters. He often wrote two 
to the writer's one. She was busy, he knew, 
and all writing was a trouble to her. 

Not so to Philip. He had the pen of a 
ready writer. He dashed off his glowing sen- 
tences without pause, almost without thought. 
The quill ran away with him sometimes. He 
had a picturesque, forcible way of expressing 
himself, that made each word seem of Import- 
ance — of a great deal more importance than 


he had intended. Ah, how warm his letter 
seemed that dull morning to Ralph! There 
was no need for him to have told that the sun 
was shining when he wrote : Ralph knew it. 
It sparkled on every word, bright as Gris- 
elda's hair ; but it did not reach Ralph in his 
dull lodging. He shivered still, and glanced 
dismally at the fog. How eager was Philip's 
praise of the little girl ! how much he was 
enjoying himself! And the little girl was 
happy and good, and had nice people for her 
friends ; and was making herself pleasant to 
Ralph's friend for Ralph's sake. 

" That is all very satisfactory," said Ralph, 
still sighing, still with a shadow on his brow. 

He did not read the letter twice : somehow 
he did not seem to care about it. 

After a day or two he answered it, writing, 
in his turn, a short, very earnest letter, not at 
all in Philip's warm style. 

That letter met with a long delay in the 



" I MEAN to be a great, great singer ! " said 


'' Do you ? How will Ralph fit that ? " 

" Oh, we are not going to be married yet," 

said she, carelessly. 

*' Don't you wish to be married soon ? " 
*' No. I think it would be much more diffi- 
cult to get on then." 
" Ralph wishes it." 
" Does he ? But then his work is not so 

interesting as mine. Who could care about 

sitting at a desk all day ? " 

'' You see he wants you to enliven him." 
" I will marry him when he wishes it ; but 

I want to be a great singer." 
*' You are ambitious." 


" I am eaten up with ambition ! " cried Gris- 
elda, vehemently. 

"Is that quite natural to you, I wonder ? " 
said Philip, reflectively. 

*' Aren't you ambitious } " 

"I am." 

'' I like it. I wish Ralph were more am- 

A pause. 

'' What did you mean/' asked Griselda pres- 
ently, '' about it not being natural to me ? " 

'' You used not to seem ambitious. Do you 
like singing now, Griselda ? " 

" Not much." 

Philip did not appear surprised. He under- 
stood her perfectly. 

" I never can see more than one thing at a 
time," resumed Griselda, presently. "" It used 
to be the hatred of all the staring strangers ; 
then it was the dread of — other things. Ralph 
saved me from that. Now it is ambition. 
Perhaps it will be something else soon. But 
none of the other things go away. They are 
all here in my heart, only I can't see them." 


" That is not at all like me," said Philip. 

Griselda looked up with a penitent air, as if 
she wished to recant at once. There was a 
long silence. Philip was pondering over a new 
view of Griselda. He had never thought of 
her as a great singer, nor had imagined that 
her wishes lay in this direction. She was right, 
he supposed : he approved of ambition. Only 
she seemed so perfect as she was. What made 
him say, suddenly ? — 

'' Griselda, I hope you will be good to 
Ralph. I am very fond of him." 

*' So am I, Mr Temple," said Griselda, with 
dignity ; and Philip felt rebuked and silenced. 

He began after this to be critical. Would 
she ever be a great singer ? She might. Her 
voice was ideally beautiful in its way ; she was 
very young as yet — too young to have reach- 
ed her full power. Her acting was good on 
the whole, unless it were in a part that made 
her think of herself too much. In some char- 
acters she failed, certainly ; but never con- 
spicuously, never hopelessly. She would im- 
prove. She had improved wonderfully con- 


sidering the short time that had elapsed since 
her first appearance. But PhiHp could not 
think of her as a great singer. Her voice, 
her music, was part of herself; but this pub- 
lic performing always appeared unnatural to 
her, something quite unconnected with herself, 
something one forgot in forming one's idea of 
her. She seemed adapted to be the ornament 
of some quiet home ; to be a gentle, cooing 
thing, sitting at somebody's feet with loving, 
watchful eyes ; making somebody glad with 
bright smiles, sweet songs, soft words. The 
somebody was to be Ralph Lindsay. Would 
there be little children at her knee some day, 
with brown eyes and golden hair and sweet 
voices like her own ? Philip paused in his 
speculating. Pshaw ! let her alone. It was 
no affair of his. She was a mere child herself, 
too young for marriage and motherhood yet. 
What was the use of forecasting the future like 
this, even if it were pleasant ? And there was 
something not quite pleasant in that vision of 
Griselda sitting at Ralph's side with loving, 
watchful eyes, while little children played round 


a warm and sunny room. It suddenly flashed 
across Philip's mind that he should like to 
emigrate. He did not feel anxious to behold 
that picture in reality. He would go to Aus- 
tralia and buy a sheep-farm. No : stupid place 
— Colorado would be better ; adventures grew 
more plentifully there. 

A sudden fever rose in Philip's blood, and 
he rushed out into the cool evening air. Close 
by the cathedral he met Griselda and her 
father accidentally. Just then, to the slow 
tinkling of a bell, the brethren of the Mise- 
ricordia passed, bearing a corpse-like figure, 
mortally hurt in some street accident. Gris- 
elda was frightened, and clung to Philip's arm. 
It was not the first time she had seen the 
ghastly procession, but it affected her more 
than usual to-night. The evening was still 
and beautiful ; the street in which they stood 
was silent as the grave ; the few passers-by 
had all paused with uncovered heads. Those 
swift, unswerving, black -robed and masked 
figures might have been the emblem of a 
blight passing over a fair scene and robbing it 


of life and joy. The young man and the girl 
felt something of this sort as they stood to- 
gether with bated breath, waiting while the 
brethren passed. Philip turned and looked 
down on Griselda, feeling the tight pressure of 
her hand on his arm. She looked up and met 
his eyes, her own full of fear and agitation. 
A^ain the chill touch of doom crave them a 
forewarning of his coming. They looked at 
each other with speechless, uncomprehending 
fear. Uncomprehending ! how should they 
have understood ? If we understood our des- 
tiny, which of us would rush blindly on ? They 
could not explain the terror that had seized 
them ; rather, they explained it wrong. Two 
sensitive, imaginative people had been physi- 
cally startled by an unwonted sight : the dim, 
silent street ; the noiseless and sombre pro- 
cession ; the arrested passengers ; and the 
boomino- of the oro^an in the cathedral near, 
had ao^itated their nerves. No more. 

** Messengers of healing, Griselda," whis- 
pered Philip, trying to reassure her and him- 



*' Ah ! " said Griselda, drawing a long breath; 
" but the man is dead." 

Philip did not contradict her. He was not 
thinking of the suffering man : scarcely of the 
black-robed bearers. 

*' Let us turn into the Duomo," he said, 
drawing her to the door ; and it was then that 
they sat together at vespers, the impression 
just made on their spirits losing itself by 
degrees in another less awe-striking and un- 

If those impressions of coming doom were 
less evanescent, they might be more profitable _; 
as it is, we shake them off at the time, shudder- 
ing in cold dislike, and only remember them 
later when they are of no use but as another 
prick of pain. 

Evanescent also was the impression made 
by those few moments on Mr Mortimer. He 
experienced nothing terrible, nothing incom- 
prehensible. But he thought the whole scene 
would make a capital picture : his own fright- 
ened Griselda, and the protecting young man 
by her side, were just the two figures needed 


to make it effective. But Mr Mortimer did 
not carry out his conception into practice : 
when a good subject suggested itself to him, 
it was generally at a time when his hands 
were otherwise filled, or when he was pre- 
vented from painting by some unavoidable 

In another world, will idea and practice 
work more seasonably, I wonder ? or shall 
we be gifted with an extra pair of hands to 
be kept for stray jobs, not allowed for in the 
order of the day ? 

When Griselda had gone to her room that 
night, she sat for a long time at the window, 
gazing up at the crescent moon and the clear 
frosty sky. The fair, still night oppressed 
her ; she felt sick, and lonely, and dull. No 
new feelings these to her ; she had been used 
to them all her life : rather the mirthfulness 
of the last few months had been an unwonted 
experience, which at its departure she charac- 
terised as too good for her ; too good to last ; 
too good to be true. But familiar care — re- 
turned, though not quite visible ; present, but 


silent as yet — was a dreary companion. The 
girl sat at the dark casement, her elbows on 
her knees, and her hands clasped, with quiver- 
ing lips and glittering, tearless eyes. She was 
not yet patient and resigned ; she was battling 
with an ill-understood destiny. 

What strange impulse made her rise sud- 
denly, and, lighting a candle, seek for a picture 
and a letter ? It was a photograph of Ralph, 
and the letter was one from him come that 
morning. She looked at the picture ; she had 
one like it which she wore in a locket round 
her neck. She was not wholly cruel ; she was 
about to burn a victim, but not to make a 
wholesale massacre. Letter and picture she 
threw into her wood- fire, and watched them 
slowly curling and burning and falling into 

Then she undressed swiftly and threw her- 
self on her bed, not to sleep for hours. 



Let us suppose three weeks or a month to 
have passed. Griselda s life has gone on out- 
wardly as usual ; she has sung and danced, 
smiled and talked with more spirit and vigour 
than ever before. She is still a favourite, and 
her patrons are still anxious to secure her a 
good husband. People have begun to acknow- 
ledge that it is not Vivian who has won her 
heart. There are rumours that some one is 
continually with her, to whom she never even 
affects indifference. Vivian is going away — 
not quite pleased. This evening there is a 
storm, and the howling of the wind and the 
pelting of the rain have been heard above 
Griselda's sweet, sad voice. She has sung 
well to-night : hers was a wild and mournful 
part, and it suited her mood. 


But the audience has been small. Griselda 
has been complimented, but carelessly : people 
are not thinking of the music much ; the storm 
has been too sudden and noisy not to engross 
attention. Two persons are lingering round 
her now, however ; for Mr Mortimer, who 
wants to say a word to the manager, thinks 
the rain outside is too heavy to last long. 
Griselda likes the delay ; she is talking with 

*' What are they saying ? " Arthur Vivian 
wonders, as he stands at a little distance watch- 
ing them, and waiting to bid her good-bye 
before his homeward journey on the morrow. 

'' I have never got beyond the weather and 
such like with her," Vivian said yesterday to 
Philip, perhaps with a meaning in his words. 

" Haven't you ? " said Philip, scornfully. He 
dislikes this young Vivian : thinks him a care- 
less, thoughtless, selfish man of the world. 

Evidently Philip is not talking of the weather 
to Griselda to-night. He looks down on her, 
smiling with a satisfaction and a delight that 
have banished all other feelings. Griselda 


is pale and anxious-looking. The last month 
has robbed her of her appetite and her sleep. 
Her animation nowadays is excitement, not 
health and happiness. Yet she is listening to 
Philip with evident pleasure. Vivian thinks 
her expression has changed much lately. The 
innocent gaiety or the guileless sadness is 
gone somewhat. There is a slight air of de- 
fiance about her — a consciousness of some- 
thing gone wrong. 

After all, they are not saying anything in 
particular. The scraps of conversation which 
reach Vivian's ears only make him wonder the 
more at the expression on the two earnest 
faces. He feels his heart beatinor as he looks 
at them. It is a revelation to him. He has 
not thought much of Philip before. 

Vivian's attention has been called to them 
to-night. Some one has made a remark to 
him which has caused him to reo^ret his own 
flirtation with Griselda. I told you he was a 
good-hearted fellow, who would do no wilful 
wrong to any one. 

There is a thing in this talk between Gris- 


elda and Philip that I must bid you notice. 
There Is no mention of, no allusion to, Ralph 
Lindsay. Why should there be ? Ralph Is 
not a person about whom much can be said. 
Philip might observe, '' I imag-Ine so and so, 
and Lindsay laughs at me ; " or Griselda might 
say, '' I intend to do this or that, and Ralph 
thinks I had better not ; " or Philip might say, 
*' Lindsay is a capital fellow, and the best lis- 
tener in the world ; " and they might go on 
to expatiate on his kindness to his mother 
and sisters. But all this has been said so 
often ; and there is nothing new — at least 
nothing that Griselda cares to tell Philip. 
Ralph has slipped out of their talk to-night, 
and every night. 

Vivian bids them good-bye coldly. He 
returns to his hotel ; and his friend and tra- 
velling companion, Edgar Leigh, thinks him 
moody and out of sorts. 

But Philip walks through the wet streets 
with the smile still playing round his lips. 
It is a long time since he has been so happy 
as since he came to Florence. Dear little Oris- 


elda! What a quaint interesting little thing 
she is ! How delightful it is to watch her 
mobile face, whether to discern the thoughts 
that give rise to the changeful expression, or 
merely to see and admire each new beauty 
for its own sake ! There is no one who 
listens so well to a dream or a fancy; no 
one who adds so many suggestions and cor- 
rections ; no one who says so delightfully, 
" That is great nonsense you are talking." 
Philip thinks of her the last thing at night 
and the first thinor in the morninor. She has 

o o 

become a necessity to him ; familiar as the 

air he breathes. He is wholly absorbed in 

a dream the most eno^rossinor the most fan- 
es o' 

tastic, that has ever impressed his imagination. 
His English home, his parents, his work, his 
actual relations to ordinary men and women, 
have become unreal to him. He is dwellino^ 
in a castle in the air, which he has built with- 
out knowing it ; he does not perceive its 
existence, much less its unsubstantiallty. He 
once talked of living without conscience for 
awhile ; he is really living without conscious- 


ness, save of one vague, unfathomed, all-per- 
vading delight. 

I make no excuses for him. He was all 
wrong, I am sure, and had no business to get 
Into such a condition, seeing that he lived in 
the nineteenth century, and claimed to be con- 
sidered sane. This Is not a moral story ; it Is 
only a history of certain persons and transac- 
tions, reprehensible or otherwise, as they were. 
I don't expect you to sympathise with Philip. 
I daresay you are very unlike him and very 
superior to. him. You may. If you choose, con- 
sider him wholly unnatural. His father and 
mother thought him so too. 

But for Griselda, I cannot even tell you that 
she was going wrong unconsciously. She had 
never loved Ralph, and now she had ceased 
from trying to do so. She was drifting, and 
she made no attempt to regain her hold of the 
rudder. For weeks Griselda had not written 
to Ralph. She could not keep up a wilful de- 
ception ; she had not courage for a disclosure. 
She was a foolish, thoughtless girl, — like the 
ostrich hidlnof Its head In the sand to save 


itself from danger. What the end would be 
she did not know ; she did not allow herself to 
think. She had '' flung away the traditions 
of her life." She was no longer trying to do 
right. She told herself it was impossible. If 
her snatching of the moment's pleasure brought 
punishment, she could not help it ; nothing 
could make her more miserable than she was. 
For here was the worst part : that the thing 
for which she had abandoned everything made 
her more and more wretched. She felt no 
spark of happiness such as the early days of 
her engagement to Ralph had brought her ; 
though she was quite sure that Philip loved 
her as much as she loved him. He had said 
nothing about it : she quite understood that he 
might not know it himself yet. But the eyes of 
a loving woman are very quick, and Griselda 
felt perfectly certain that they could not live 
apart. Nothing else but this mutual affection 
seemed of importance to her now. While 
singing better than she had ever done before, 
she had forgotten her ambition — had almost 
ceased to care for music. 


*' I would gladly lose my voice," she said, 
'' if I might be his wife." And then the over- 
whelming misery rose in her breast, though 
she was crying, "He loves me, I know it! 
I know it ! " 

She knelt in the darkness, wringing her 
hands she knew not why. 

Once she groaned in her anguish — 

" God is very cruel. He must have known 
it long ago, when I did not. He should have 
told me then, for Ralph's sake." 



Arthur Vivian and his friend Edgar Leigh 
reached England in the course of two or three 
days. They did not once mention Griselda 
Mortimer to each other. Captain Leigh, of 
the 209th, had belonged to her outer circle of 
friends only. He was a relation of Oliver 
Temple's, and a few days after his arrival 
went down to Salehurst. He found great 
doings in progress there. The restored and 
decorated church was ready for reopening, and 
the new school-house was finished. Philip's 
counsels had prevailed sufficiently with Agnes, 
to induce her to carry on the two operations 
simultaneously, and now their completion was 
to be marked by an appropriate ceremony. 
Agnes was proud of her church ; of the fashion- 
able stained-glass windows, the free pews, and 


the altar-cloth worked by her own fingers. A 
new clergyman was to appear also for the first 
time, the old rector having died most oppor- 
tunely ; and a successor having been found 
with proper aesthetic tastes, and sufficiently 
High Church principles, though he was no 
Ritualist — for Agnes, wishing to stand well 
with everybody, shook her head gracefully at 
Ritualism, and declared herself old-fashioned 
enough to love the Church of England in its 
simplicity. Oliver had not taken much interest 
in the new buildings, or in the appointment of 
the new clergyman. He had no objection to 
popularity, but he did not care to work for 
it, and he thought Agnes was becoming con- 
foundedly active and fussy. But matters 
having reached their present stage, he bore 
the concluding ceremony with as good a grace 
as possible. Indeed, he charmed all the re- 
ligious and philanthropic guests, with whom 
Agnes had filled the house, by his affability 
and pleasant seriousness, only venting his 
spleen on her in private. If Oliver had any 
tenderness left for his wife, her coldness had 


completely checked Its exhibition. Of late he 
had begun to wish he had married a different 
sort of person. As Lily grew older he would 
fain have won her affection, but Lily avoided 
him systematically, and despised, with a bit- 
terness painful in so young a child, all his 
attempts at pleasing her. Altogether poor 
Oliver had a disagreeable home. His family 
ignored and disliked him ; his wife's acquaint- 
ances were all uncongenial to him ; and the 
servants and dependents had fallen into a 
habit of expecting an amount of interest and 
attention that were excessively irksome. Oliver 
had become bored : he was too respectable by 
nature to escape from his trammels by any dis- 
graceful action, too lazy to seek any interesting, 
energetic employment. He spent his days 
listlessly, getting his work well done, but not 
doing it himself; occasionally looking at child 
or wife, with a secret yearning half betrayed on 
his countenance, which they either did not per- 
ceive or deliberately disregarded. 

Captain Leigh being a sociable man, with an 
easily adaptive nature, was greatly amused by 


the assemblage of people he found at Sale- 
hurst. He chattered pleasantly to the old 
ladies and pompous, well-intentioned philan- 
thropists ; he flirted with the girls and gos- 
siped with everybody. 

In the. course of the day he once found 
himself near a knot of county magnates who 
were talking in low tones of the Mortimers of 

''A very fortunate circumstance," Lord 
Oldingham had been saying, " that the pro- 
perty has fallen into the hands of these dear 
young people, — a very fortunate circumstance 
indeed." There was something in the ridic- 
ulous inappropriateness of Lord Oldingham's 
epithets that always entertained our friend 
Edgar. The idea of the stout, easy-going 
Oliver, and the dignified, graceful Agnes being 
designated as '' dear young people," even by 
an elderly and patronising viscount ! The 
young man lingered to listen. 

** What's become of William Mortimer?" 
asked Mr Leonard of Leonardslee, dropping 
his voice. 


'' William Mortimer is a disgrace to the 
family," said Lord Oldingham, solemnly. 

Then came some whispered observations 
about an old story, of which, presumably, 
neither Agnes nor her husband knew any- 
thing. Very little of this reached Edgar 
Leigh's ears. He became curious, and drew 
nearer. The whispered conversation ceased. 

" I met William Mortimer the other day," 
said Captain Leigh, hoping to revive it. 

" Indeed," said Lord Oldingham. 

"He's in Florence," proceeded Edgar; "I 
have just returned from there." 

" So my son told me," said Sir Edward 
Fleminof. " You travelled home with Vivian, 
by the way, did you not ? Is there any truth 
in the story that he has fallen in love with an 
actress ? " 

" No ; I don't think so. The actress is Wil- 
liam Mortimer's daughter. She is singing at 
the opera in Florence." 

'' So I have heard," said Lord Oldingham, 
drily. " I am sorry to hear about this Vivian. 
Who is he ? " 



" But there is no truth in that," said Captain 
Leigh. *' He was cut out by another man. 
Vivian was only flirting." 

'' I am sorry to hear Miss Mortimer is a 
flirt/' said Lord Oldingham. 

Edgar laughed. 

'' Well, my son seemed to think Vivian was 
in earnest," said Sir Edward Fleming, who 
was a very obstinate man. 

" You know that odd fellow, Philip Temple, 
don't you ? " said Captain Leigh ; " it was he 
cut Vivian out. He is in earnest, if you like it." 

" He is a very earnest person," said Mr 

" Not he," said Sir Edward ; " he doesn't 
care two straws about anything. He's always 
in the clouds." 

'' I know him exceedingly well," protested 
Mr Leonard. '' My dear Mrs Mortimer," he 
continued, turning to Agnes, who, with two or 
three ladies, had just joined the group, " Cap- 
tain Leigh is telling us some news, and it 
concerns relations of yours. A marriage in 
prospect, I hear." 


Mr Leonard was very good, very impulsive, 
and very stupid. The persons around him 
rushed blindly to his correction. Edgar Leigh, 
who did not know Mr Leonard, was tram- 
melled by politeness, and only uttered a faint 

" I did not exactly go so far as that," he 
explained, and fearing a catechism, hastened 
to escape. 

Lord Oldingham said, bewildering every- 
body, " I should hope there is no truth in 
such a disgraceful story." 

And Sir Edward observed hastily, '' A re- 
lation of Mr Temple-Mortimer's, Leonard — 
a relation of Mr Temple-Mortimer's." 

" Well ? " said Mr Leonard, combatively, 
" Mr Philip Temple, and a cousin of Mrs Mor- 
timer's, if I am not mistaken. To marry, my 
dear Mrs Mortimer — so Captain Leigh, who 
has just returned from Florence with a Mr 
Vivian, whom perhaps you know, has just 
informed us." 

'' Oh, really ? " said Agnes, with a ready 
smile ; '' that is why Philip has been so long 


In Florence, then ? Well, he is always roman- 
tic, we know." She turned away. 

" You shouldn't have said that, Leonard," 
said Sir Edward ; " you forget that fellow 
Temple was an old lover of Mrs Mortimer s." 

" Well ? And if he was ? He likes the 
name of Mortimer still, apparently." 

" And Leigh did not say there was to be a 

" He said Temple was in earnest if " 

protested Mr Leonard ; but Lord Oldingham 
interrupted, sternly — 

" I have no confidence in that young man ; 
a vain, foolish, hare-brained fellow, destitute 
of principle. I am sorry for his father. I 
know him, — a worthy, noble man — a worthy, 
noble man. And I fear this young lady is 
born to bring grief into several worthy 

Lord Oldinorham's remarks seemed even 
less relevant than usual. Sir Edward Fleming 
and Mr Leonard started another topic. 

Late that night, when some of the guests 
had departed, and the remainder had retired 


for the night — when Oliver had scolded his 
wife for gathering together such a collection of 
bores, and Agnes had told him the report 
about Philip, which she found he had heard 
already — she sat down alone to ponder it over. 
The result of her pondering was, that she wrote 
a guardedly congratulatory note to Philip's 
mother. She knew well enough that such a 
marriage would be a disappointment to them, 
but she was sincerely anxious to do Philip a 
good turn ; " though he scarcely ever speaks 
to me now," she said, with a sigh. Then she 
wrote to Griselda — a thing she had not done 
for months. She did not feel amiable as she 
thought of Griselda ; but If Philip wanted to 
marry her, the child must not say him nay. 

" My dear little Cousin, — I have just been 
told a great piece of news about you and our 
cousin Philip Temple. I hope it is true. Write 
and tell me all about it at once, and let me 
congratulate you very heartily. (We intend to 
give you a little marriage portion, so don't be 
at all alarmed if Philip pretends he is only a 


poor man. That Is a little secret for you.) 
You will, I am sure, find him an excellent and 
devoted husband, and you will quickly love 
his father and mother. I am truly glad that 
some one is going to take his comfort and 
happiness in hand — and indeed have always 
regretted that I was ever oblio^ed to wound 
him, poor fellow. I know you will comfort 
him. — Yours," &c., &c. 

Agnes meant every word of this letter ; if 
a little spite showed in the allusion at the end, 
it was all the more candid. Agnes knew 
nothing, of course, about Ralph Lindsay ; and 
Oliver feigned equal ignorance. 

When Agnes's letter reached Griselda, the 
child stared at It In dumb astonishment. She 
tore It up, and did not answer it at once. After 
a few days of wilful delay, other events chased 
it out of her mind, and she forgot all about It. 

Arthur Vivian, meanwhile, spent a day or 
two In London. Accidentally or on purpose, 
he met Ralph Lindsay. 

" I tell you what It Is, my dear Lindsay," 

DOOMED. 103 

said Vivian, " you want a change. Run down 
to Florence for a while." 

Ralph detected a meaning in this. 

" I suppose you saw Miss Mortimer some- 
times ? " said he, coming to the point at once. 

'' Yes," said Vivian, getting hot and un- 
comfortable under this abruptness. 

" She is well ? '' said Ralph, calmly : he had 
had no letter for a lonor time, but he did not 
mean Vivian to know it. 

" You ought to go and see her," said Arthur, 
showinof his embarrassment. 

A sudden fear shot through Ralph's breast 
and blanched his cheek. '' What is it ? " he 

'' Nothing, — nothing," said Vivian, alarmed 
by the sudden change; "only — she — she's left 
to herself a good deal — and — and you ought 
to go and look after her, Lindsay. There's a 
long, dark fellow named Temple " 

"Oh, Temple?" said Ralph, relieved — he 
had feared Vivian was going to say the little 
girl was ill : " he is all right. I am glad she 
knows him. He Is my friend." 


Vivian became angry. He had not shown 
talent in the interview. " I advise you to 
go and look after him, then," he said, impet- 
uously : '' he's a suspicious kind of a friend. 
Take my advice, Lindsay." 

Ralph smiled — reassuringly, he hoped. 

" Come, Vivian ; I won^t have you insinuat- 
ing doubts of my friend into my mind. I 
trust him perfectly." 

" Better doubt him than your bride, I should 
say," returned Vivian, foolishly. Ralph made 
no answer. 

*' Look here, Lindsay," said Vivian, who 
was full of blundering contrition ; '' I hope no 
one has talked nonsense to you about me. I 
met a fellow yesterday who said / had been 
flirting with her. Don't you believe it. There's 
no truth in it — or I mean — the devil is in the 
world, old boy ; it will talk nonsense. You 
know I'm your friend. But I advise you to 
go to Florence." 

Ralph smiled. " Don't you talk nonsense 
about Temple, then," he said ; and they 
parted. The smile vanished off Ralph's face 

DOOMED. 105 

at once. It had been an effort to retain it so 

" I wish Temple would write," he said to 
himself; "that can't be true, but I wish 
he would write." He did not say, '* I wish 
Griselda would write." That desire was too 
keen for expression. Her last letter was three 
weeks old. He read it over again. It was 
short and not very interesting, but gave 
no warning note of coming silence. There 
had been gaps on her side of the correspond- 
ence before. Ralph would not condemn her 
for this. She did not realise his yearning for 
one of those meagre letters which always 
cost her so much thought to pen. He knew 
she was not a good letter- writer. He would 
have patience a little longer ; a little longer, 
till she remembered that he was waiting pain- 
fully ; or a little longer till he could get a 
holiday to go and see her. " It will be all 
right then," he murmured, sadly. " My poor 
little Griselda ; she does not know what she 
is doing." 

Ralph changed grievously : he became silent 


and moody. His acquaintances shook their 
heads over him, and called him ''poor fellow." 
Elderly men pointed him out to their sons as 
an example of the folly of falling in love with 
actresses. No one spoke of Griseldato Ralph, 
except two or three very well-meaning per- 
sons who knew of his engagement. Lord 
Oldingham was one of these : he had been 
an old patient of Ralph's father, and was 
somewhat patronising to the young man. After 
receiving Lord Oldingham's information, Ralph 
became more silent and gloomy than ever ; 
he longed bitterly for a holiday. About this 
time Ralph received the offer of a substantial 
rise in his profession. A little additional work 
would bring him a salary larger by about 
^400 a-year than his present one. Ralph 
thought he could marry on that if Griselda 
were willing. But the last point seemed doubt- 
ful : he must see her himself as soon as pos- 
sible. He accepted at once the appointment 
offered to him, and asked for a short leave 
of absence. The answer was only half satis- 
factory — ■ 

DOOMED. 107 

'' Presently/' 

Arthur Vivian went home to his estate in 
the county where Mr Temple was the most 
popular pastor of the largest town. 

The letter from Agnes to Mrs Temple led 
to much anxious talk between the clergyman 
and his wife. 

" I don't think it can be true," said she, " or 
Philip would have told us." 

'' Philip does not generally make us his 
confidants," said Mr Temple. '' Very likely it 
is true. I have no faith in Philip." 

" That is a terrible thing to say, Arthur," 
said Mrs Temple, with tears in her eyes. 

'' I mean," said her husband, " I should 
never be surprised at any conduct of Philip's. 
As to this report, I am not as unprepared for 
it as you are. I have already heard that it 
is this young lady's attractions which are keep- 
ing Phil so long in Florence. I am very 
much displeased with him." 

" What have you heard ? " 

" I met young Vivian yesterday. He has 
been there too for ever so lone — it shows the 


kind of girl she Is, Edith : he told me that 
every one is talking of her and Philip, and it 
seems she is already engaged to some one else. 
Vivian said he regretted his own thoughtless- 
ness, and begged me to get Phil home. ' They 
are breaking a good man's heart,' he said, and 
seemed really sorry about it." 

'' The man she is engaged to ? Who is 

" I can't say. Not any one we are acquaint- 
ed with, I suppose. I am going to write to 
Philip now very strongly ; and I have written 
a line to Ralph Lindsay, to see if he knows 
anything about it. Phil is intimate with him, 
I believe — the best thing I know of Philip ; 
and Ralph used to know this girl too, I re- 

Mr Temple spoke sternly. An unimagina- 
tive, impassive man as he was, the report of 
Philip's conduct seemed to him odious. He 
wrote very severely to his son, and ordered 
him, for honour's sake, to come home at once. 

His letter to Ralph added another note 
of warning to those that had already fallen 

DOOMED. 109 

on the young man's ear. He did not reply 
to it. 

" I don't believe it yet," said Ralph sadly 
to himself; "they will explain it all when I 
see them. It is so like Philip to forget that 
people may misunderstand him. Some mis- 
chief-monger has been at work, evidently. I 
will not distrust them if I can help It." 

His sister Janet was in London, and was 
spending the evening with her brother. 

At the time when Ralph and Griselda had 
been first betrothed, he had not mentioned the 
fact to his mother and sisters. Now he felt 
less than ever inclined to speak to Janet on 
the subject nearest to his heart. She, how- 
ever, was inquisitive and acute. Coming upon 
a sketch of a very lovely face among some 
things of her brother's which she was arrang- 
ing, her rapid questioning soon extracted the 
news of his engagement from him. But Janet's 
curiosity (interest she would have called it) 
was far from being satisfied. Her brother's 
pale face and languid manner had struck her 
forcibly, and now she noticed that his evident 


depression rather increased than diminished as 
he spoke of his betrothed. *' But who is she, 
Ralph ? " asked this prudent but not too sym- 
pathising elder sister, again scanning the little 
sketch. Ralph took it from her : to see any one 
studying that face was pain to him just then. 

" Her name is Griselda Mortimer," answered 

** Griselda ! What an extraordinary name. 
But how can I tell who Griselda Mortimer is ? 
Any relation of Henry's ? " 

" His sister. Did you never hear him speak 
of her, Janet, in old days ? I should have 
thought it was enough to say that she is my 
future wife. If you must have more, I will 
tell you that her father is an artist, and she 
herself is singing in the opera at Florence." 

''A singer! Ralph, how can you be so 
mad ? The idea of a man of your family 
marrying an opera-singer ! " 

Ralph smiled. " Miss Mortimer's family is 
considered much better than ours, Janet." 

" Well, I do think an actress is the last per- 
son my mother would enjoy as a daughter-in- 


law. And I am sure Henry did us no credit." 
The brother did not speak, and Janet con- 
tinued, questioningly, " I suppose, no doubt, 
you consider her deportment superior to that 
of her class in oreneral ? " 

" I do not understand you, Janet." 

" That is affectation," said Janet, vigorously. 

"If you think for a minute, you will see that 
I must resent any question of deportment be- 
ing raised about my wife." 

" Those sort of people are generally frivo- 
lous and flirting, if not worse," said the un- 
daunted Janet. 

" Have you had much experience of them?" 

" No ; I am thankful to say my acquaint- 
ances belonof to a different class. Come, 
Ralph, forgive my bluntness — you know it 
means nothing ; but you do not look happy : 
I am sure this girl is to blame. She is a 
flirt, and you know it. Is it not so ? 

" Janet, I will not bear this. Be so kind as 
to remember my relation to her, and be silent." 
Ralph's voice was hollow, and he turned away, 
unable to bear his sister's penetrating gaze. 


"My dear Ralph," said Janet, after a few 
moments, " do not do anything so fooHsh. I 
advise you to break off this engagement at 
once. She Is evidently not suitable to be 
your wife. I suspect you know that yourself. 
Pray, how long have you known her ? " 

'' For years : known and loved her." 

" Have you ? Very odd you never men- 
tioned her to us. It does not follow that she 
loves you. Depend upon it, she has only ac- 
cepted you for convenience, and has not the 
smallest intention of marrying you. Those 
actresses are more ambitious. If I were you 
I should draw back at once. It may be pain- 
ful, but it is better than being made a fool 
of by a girl. Forgive my plain speaking, 

" I don't forgive it," said Ralph, bitterly 
stung ; '' I don't accept your interference, or 
attach the smallest importance to your innuen- 
does. I intend to manage my own affairs." 

** Well, all I can say is, I never could rejoice 
at such a marriage. Don't count upon my be- 
ing sisterly to her, Ralph. I had always hoped 

DOOMED. 113 

your wife would have been a woman I could 
have loved and served as gladly as I serve 

" I shall not expose Griselda to your tender 
mercies, Janet. Now let us attend to our 
money matters." 

" Very well. You say your increase of in- 
come will not begin for three months ? '* 

'' I don't enter on the work for three months." 

" Who knows where we shall all be by that 
time ? " said Janet, with a sigh, not the result 
of apprehension, but of hope deferred. During 
the whole of her monotonous life, she had been 
hoping that the next month might bring some 
refreshing change. 

After his sister was gone, Ralph stood still 
by the fire, resting his arm on the mantel- 
piece, and leaning his aching head on his 
hand. Janet's words had cut him to the 
quick. Harsh and rough as they were, it 
was the substratum of truth in them that 
wounded him. He feared Griselda did not 
love him. 

" My darling, my darling," sobbed the poor 


fellow, secure In his loneliness, " could you 
deceive me designedly ? I cannot believe It ! 
Tell me how to go on believing in you, and I 
will, though I have to give you up. If you 
are not what I think you, my faith in every- 
thing Is shaken. God help me to bear It! 
God grant that I am wrong in doubting you, 
Griselda, my darling ! " 

He opened his Bible to read, as he always 
did before retiring to rest. To-night the 
pages appeared cold and Indifferent, as they 
had often appeared to him lately. His regular 
chapter was the 6th of Romans ; but St Paul's 
subtleties of reasoning seemed out of place. 
He turned the pages wearily, looking for 
something to suit his case, while his mind 
wandered uneasily away from the words. 

" Perhaps Janet was right. Perhaps, after 
all. It would be better to break it off. If It 
would secure her happiness, though he him- 
self " 

His eye lighted on a verse that seemed a 
response to his unuttered prayer. 

'' Peace I leave with you, my peace I give 

DOOMED. 115 

unto you : not as the world giveth, give I 
unto you. Let not your heart be troubled." 

A response ? Yes ; but take heed, poor 
Ralph, that you do not misunderstand. The 
point of that promise lies in the words often 
least noticed — '' Not as the world giveth, give 
1 unto you." Remember that ; and when God 
sends His peace, murmur not as though He 
gave you a stone. 

Ralph closed the Book and sank on his 
knees in prayer. His lips moved, but no 
articulate words came from them. A voice- 
less cry ascended from the aching heart to the 
footstool of Him who had made it. I do not 
doubt that God listened, not unlovingly. He 
was preparing even then the balsam for the 



One evening In Florence there was a large 
fancy ball. Grlselda was there as Portia ; 
Philip was the Merchant of Venice ; the 
young Russian, Bassanio ; another friend of 
Griselda's, Shylock. The costumes had been 
settled several weeks before, amid much chat- 
tering and laughing. The Idea had arisen 
out of some remarks of Arthur Vivian's about 
Griselda's hair ; and Philip had quoted the 
description of Portia, — " Her sunny locks 
hang on her temples like a golden fleece," 
&c., — and had declared she must be Portia. 
Griselda had answered, laughing, and not 
meaning it in the least, " My little body is 
aweary of this great world ; that is true 
enough, certainly ; " and then she had tripped 
off for some plates of old Venetian costumes, 

DOOMED. 117 

and everything had been settled at once. 
Vivian was to have been Bassanio, and the 
poor Count only one of the rejected suitors ; 
but Vivian left Florence suddenly, delegating 
his part to the Russian. And now the even- 
ing had come ; and Griselda, gorgeous in vel- 
vet and lace and jewels, was repeating to her- 
self, with meaning enough now, '' My little 
body is aweary of this great world." She did 
not care about anything. Bassanio annoyed 
her, Antonio frightened her. She caught a 
glimpse of herself in a mirror, and saw how 
brilliant she was. She knew she was ex- 
pected to be gay ; and suddenly she thought 
of loving, lonely Ralph in his dull room, and 
her heart was pierced by a stab of com- 

"Oh, I am wicked!" she said to herself, 
and avoided Philip as much as possible. She 
pained him. He watched her, wondering 
how he had offended her. They scarcely 
exchanged a word. When he led her to 
supper, her touch on his arm was light as a 
feather. But just as they were parting, their 


eyes met for the first time ; and Griselda, 
reading sadness and reproach in his, flushed 
crimson, and turned away from him abruptly. 
PhiHp misunderstood the blush. She was 
angry with him, he thought, and the pain on 
his own face deepened. Griselda knew it, and 
the reaction came. She longed to comfort 
him : if he had given her an opportunity, 
she would have smiled him into the sunshine 

But Philip had disappeared. He would not 
worry her. Poor little girl ! She cried herself 
to sleep that night. That she should have 
hurt him ! Would he come and see her to- 
morrow, and forgive her ? Philip did not come 
for several days, but she saw him watching her 
at the opera, and looking very miserable. The 
crisis was coming, Griselda thought, and she 
awaited it fearfully. 

Just after Philip had left Griselda's side, 
when she had turned away with that strange 
blush, he felt a tap on his shoulder, and look- 
ing round he saw the host — a portly, dignified 
Italian nobleman. 

DOOMED. 119 

" Explain to me the story of the * Merchant 
of Venice/ as your great poet has it, if you 

Philip gave a rapid outline of the story. 

*' Ah, then, I see it is Bassanio who is the 
hero, not Antonio." 

"Nay," said Philip ; *' Bassanio was the fav- 
oured lover. Does that make him a hero ? " 

*' But Antonio was no lover at all." 

" I believe you are right," said Philip, reflec- 
tively, " as the play runs ; but I always sup- 
posed Antonio loved Portia too. He was 
bound to be silent about it, of course." 

A sudden flush rose on the young man's 
cheek, and he ended the conversation, leaving 
his interlocutor and the house as soon as 
possible. He wanted to get away by himself; 
he wanted to think. 

Philip had often asked himself, not very 
lately, however, '' Am I falling in love with 
Griselda ? " and had always answered " No." 
To-night the same question rose in his mind : 
he had awakened from the dream in which his 
soul had been lying, and truth compelled him 


to answer ''Yes." He sat for a long time 
staring at the ashes on the hearth where a 
bright fire had burned several hours before. 
He was still only half conscious ; his thoughts 
were vague, and not to be restrained or guided. 
At last he rose, saying to himself gravely — 

"No, not falling. Fallen absolutely, irrevo- 
cably. Fallen in ; submerged ; drowned." 

And now, of course, it is perfectly clear to 
every one that Philip, having made this dis- 
covery, and being, as he supposed, an upright, 
honest man, ought to have left Florence at 
once. If another person in a similar predica- 
ment had asked for advice, he would have 
said, " Go by the next train." If at another 
time he had considered his own duty in such 
a state of affairs, he would have felt no doubt 
upon the subject. But it is wonderful how 
different duty looks to us when we are pressed 
hard by inclination. 

If you, my reader, belong to the large class 
of persons who are apt to linger in bed each 
morning after being called, you will under- 
stand what I mean. Yoii know how vigorous 

DOOMED. 121 

you are the night before, about getting up 
early ; but when the morning has come, there 
are fifty good reasons why you should delay 
a little. You remember that you intend to be 
particularly tired to-day, or you moralise on 
the advantage in practising quick dressing. I 
will not enumerate the good reasons that assail 
me, for these particular ones may not have 
occurred to you, and I do not wish to increase 
your temptations. You have quite enough of 
your own suggesting, I am sure. 

But when you want to do wrong, I would 
have you beware of Philip's plan of saying 
sincerely and pompously, " I have a reason for 
doing so and so." Depend upon it, this is a 
mistake. It may be very wicked to do wrong 
with your eyes open ; but if you want to get 
hopelessly into the mire, you will enter it 
blindfold. Philip found no end of excellent 
reasons for not hurrying overmuch away from 
Florence. He was not. In any case, going to 
stay very long ; and as Griselda appeared to be 
offended with him, he was not likely to see her 
quite so often in the future. Perhaps — it was a 


horrible thought — she had guessed this painful 
secret before he had done so himself That 
would quite account for her coldness : she 
would hate him. But he must see her again, 
to convince her that he had betrayed himself 
involuntarily ; in fact, had meant nothing at all. 
It would be a difficult explanation ; one not to 
be made in words, whether spoken or written. 
No : for Ralph's sake, he must make no dis- 
closures ; he must not suddenly flee away from 
her as if stung ; he must stay his full time, 
swallowing his own feelings, and after reassur- 
ing her, must go home prepared to talk about 
her to Ralph. And then {sotto voce, this part), 
it was so pleasant to be near enough to see 
her and to hear her sing ; and with a little 
self-control on his part, it could do no harm. 
No man could expect to go through life with- 
out swallowing some of his feelings. It was 
very good moral discipline. 

And then nobody knew the state of affairs : 
Griselda either did not guess, or would easily 
be persuaded her guess was wrong ; and 
Ralph did not know, and would never know. 

DOOMED. 123 

It was a dangerous reason. Unfortunately, 
Philip did not put it into words, or they would 
have stao^orered him. All the reasons he did 
put into words seemed sound enough. As I 
say, if he could have got out of himself for an 
hour, and have philosophised without that bias 
of inclination, he would have estimated his 
reasoning; at a truer value. 

So he stayed on, according to his original 
programme ; and he went to the opera and 
heard Griselda sing-. 

In the course of a few days two or three 
things happened. 

First came the letter from Ralph, w^hich had 
been written long ago and delayed in the post. 

Philip read it with a sudden quailing of 
spirit. It was perfectly horrible how Ralph 
trusted him. There were directions at the end 
that the letter was to be burnt as soon as read, 
and answered immediately. 

Ralph said — it cost the poor fellow pain to 
write such things — that reports had been reach- 
ing his ears in a roundabout way, into the 
value of which he need not now enter, that 


Griselda was not acting with all the prudence 
desirable under her circumstances. Philip's 
letter, though satisfactory on the whole, had 
not alluded to the points that troubled her 
future husband. He was quite certain, either 
that the reports were entirely without foun- 
dation, or that the dear child was merely 
thoughtless In her innocence. But he could 
not help feeling alarmed, knowing the dangers 
of her life and the untrustworthy character of 
her father. Now, If his friend would write 
plainly, he would be eternally grateful to him. 
If he thought Griselda needed a word of 
advice, or If he thought there were design- 
ing persons about her who were Imposing on 
her childish Innocence and confidence, Ralph 
would set off for Florence at once. But if 
possible, he did not wish to leave London at 
present. A little attention to his work just 
now would open a prospect of advancement, 
enabling him to offer Griselda a home at once. 
The sooner they could be married the better, 
he thought, and felt sure Philip would agree 
with him. 

DOOMED. 125 

There Is something appalHng In the words 
of a letter read out of season, when every con- 
dition under which It was written may have 
changed. Philip bore the letter about with 
him for several days, unable to answer It, and 
haunted continually by the thought of Ralph 
anxiously starting at each postman's knock In 
the expectation of his reply. He almost won- 
dered Ralph had not come to see about it, but 
he quite understood that he was anxious to 
remove the pecuniary impediments in the way 
of their speedy marriage. 

Then Philip's thoughts changed a little. 
He was making too great a fuss about it. 
Ralph was not really so very anxious. He 
had not written again. He guessed, from his 
friend's silence, that it was all right, and was 
reassured. Letters always seemed much more 
serious than was intended by their writers. 
Ralph did not really mean all that. Philip 
would write to-morrow, explain the delay, and 
say It was all right. 

But was It all right ? 

Then came the letter of remonstrance to 


Philip from his father. PhiHp loved his father 
much, and thought highly of him ; but he was 
never very meek under his advice and remon- 
strance. The tone of this letter annoyed him. 
It was not respectful to Griselda ; it was not 
respectful to himself, for it accused him, not of 
entertaining a serious and honourable affection, 
but of a selfish, unprincipled trifling, to which 
he would have been ashamed to own. It 
alluded to Ralph, not of course by name, and 
it mentioned Vivian and others, of whom the 
good clergyman had heard as admirers of this 
dangerous woman. 

Philip burned the letter in a passion, and 
fired off the following reply : — 

" My dear Father, — I have received a 
letter from you which has puzzled me to 
account for. If it was intended for me, allow 
me to say that your observations do not apply 
to me in the least, and that your advice is un- 
necessary, because it has no connection with 
my circumstances. I do not know any such 
person as the lady you describe, and think 

DOOMED. 127 

your informant must have deluded you 
strangely. I am honoured by the acquaint- 
ance of Miss Mortimer, Agnes's cousin ; but 
as she is wholly different from the person you 
speak of under that name, I cannot suppose 
you refer to her in your caustic and injudicious 
sentences. I intend to remain here for an- 
other week, and shall then return to Ken- 
sington. — Your affectionate Son, 

'' Philip Temple." 

Philip knocked off this note, and posted it 
with a feeling of relief; then he went for a 
walk. He began to be seriously unhappy. 
That letter of his father's disturbed him more 
than he liked to confess. These, then, were 
the sort of reports that were troubling Ralph. 
Philip was a little troubled by them himself. 
That young Russian was too often with her ; 
and that fellow Vivian, and one or two others. 
Philip was displeased with Griselda ; it was 
not dignified on her part, dear little silly thing, 
to encourage these men so much. It must be 
put a stop to. Then Philip remembered that 


he himself was one of the chief offenders, and 
felt ashamed of and angry with himself. 

But no ; he was quite different. He was a 
very old friend ; he was Ralph's friend, and 
Ralph had asked him to see after her. That 
he had unfortunately fallen in love with her 
himself was a pity ; but it did not alter the 
case : it hurt no one but himself. Only, as 
people were beginning to talk about her and 
him — fools — (here more anger against his 
father) — he would go and see Griselda for the 
last time, give her a little hint that she should 
be more careful, and then take up his hat and 
go. He would see Ralph very soon, and set 
everything right by a few words ; recommend^ 
Ralph to go to Florence for a bit ; and then 
— he would drown himself perhaps, since he 
would have in future to live without Griselda, 
who had become so inexpressibly dear to him. 

Philip found himself standing on the Ponte 
Vecchio, looking down through one of the 
central arches to the river, with tears in his 
eyes, thinking of the parting. It would be 
very hard to tear himself away ; but he was 

DOOMED. 129 

brave and self-confident. It had to be done : 
the sooner the better. No flinching, oh thou 
vain dreamer ! This is earnest, and something 
very serious too. Nerve thyself, and at it ! 

Only he would confess to nobody that he 
had run away from Florence. He would spend 
a week in solitude at Pisa, as he intended to 
do when he had left home originally. 

Philip went in again and began a letter to 
Ralph. He found it an exceedingly difficult 
composition, and sat chewing his pen and 
scribbling on his blotting-paper for more than 
half an hour. At the end of this time only 
the first page was covered, and that little was 
not satisfactory. 

" My dear Lindsay, — Your letter must have 
gone round by the north, I think, for it only 
reached me yesterday " (" or so," put in at the 
top). " I am afraid you have been abusing 
me for not replying thereto. I wish some one 
would explain why things that are lost and 
delayed are always matters of importance. In 
some imperceptible manner, I imagine, they 



must be really heavier and more slippery than 
trifles. I haven't time to work the idea out 
properly at present, but I suspect there is 
somethlnof in it. However, no news is orood 
news, as we are all aware, and I hope you 
have convinced yourself of the fact in this par- 
ticular case. Besides, I told you, O unbe- 
liever ! that your little Griselda was all right 
In every sense of the word, and that there 
was nothing for your affection and jealousy to 
worry about. Certainly no one would dream 
of making love to her, even if she had any 
lovers — a thing I have no reason to suppose. 
I assure you, you may trust me perfectly ; 

there is no need for you to come here yet, 


Here Philip stopped. It would not do. It 
was flippant, irrelevant, and futile. And It 
would be much better if Ralph did come : and 
that sentence about the lovers was hardly true. 
It was all very well to obliterate himself; 

He would get a breath of air, and finish It 

DOOMED. 131 

some other time. One more post would make 
no difference. 

He went out. It was very dark. Evidently 
a storm was coming on. A distant clap of 
thunder and a few drops of rain gave a warn- 
ing signal. Philip was on the Lung Arno 
Nuovo. It seemed quite natural to turn in to 
Mr Mortimer's house and let the storm pass 
over. He had to see Griselda some time : as 
well now as at any other. 




It flashed across Philip's mind as he was 
ascending the staircase, that if he gave Gris- 
elda some little hint about Ralph's letter, it 
would do no harm, and might do some good. 
She was alone in the front room ; Luise, 
the stout German maid, was working in the 
smaller apartment behind. Unless she or Mr 
Mortimer were there, Griselda received no 
visitors. It was a little arrangement of hers 
which had always annoyed Arthur Vivian ; 
but she had never consented to alter it for 
him. PhiHp had scarcely noticed it before 
to-day — for, as we know, his intercourse with 
Griselda had been perfectly dreamy and un- 
embarrassed ; now he had descended from the 
clouds, and for the first time he glanced at the 
phlegmatic German with displeasure. 


Griselda came forward, more gracious than 
ever. She had been pining to see him for 
several days. She could not bear this cold 
hand that had started up between them. 

Philip had been reasoning to himself about 
Griselda and Ralph, trying to obliterate his 
own feeHngs. He fancied he had succeeded. 
He told himself he disliked Lulse's presence, 
because he was about, with his hints, to hurt 
this sensitive child : no one ought to be by to 
stare at her. 

Forward came Griselda with her sweetest 
smile, her most winning look of gentle, depre- 
cating sadness. Philip's heart beat. He for- 
got everything for a moment, as he retained 
her hand in his. 

Back in the clouds already, Philip ? Could 
you not see that she liked that clasp of her 
slender fingers — that she responded ? I sup- 
pose he did see It, or he would not have 
enjoyed that moment so much. However, 
he dropped her hand, recalled himself to the 
exigencies of the time being, remembered 
Ralph, and what he had come about. 


The first thinof was to ofet rid of Luise. 

" Griselda, will you let me have five minutes 
alone with you?" He glanced at the maid 
as he spoke. Griselda looked up inquiringly. 
The novelty of the request puzzled her. Sud- 
denlv a thought flashed across her mind that 
for a moment stopped her breathing. Her 
colour changed rapidly : she flushed, then 
grew very pale, and trembled. What was 
he going to say ? Instinctively she would 
have refused his request. 

'• Don't mind Luise." she said, hurriedly. 

Philip held to his point, not saying anything, 
but lookincT at Luise and frowninor. Another 
quick flush on Griselda's face, another quick 
glance at Philip, then she abandoned the 
strucfo-le in her mind, whatever it mieht be, 
and went into the next room to dismiss the 

Philip was glad of the moment's breathing 
time to collect his thoughts, and look for some 
graceful, delicate words. When Griselda re- 
turned, he was sittino; bv the table, his head 
buried in his hands. She stood bv the win- 


dow, drawing her breath in quick short gasps, 
and longing for, yet dreading, his first words. 
She was all wrong, she knew ; she had no 
business to be there ; she was a bad girl. 
Once she had thought this man a prophet, 
and had fancied he spoke to her with the 
voice of God. He was not going to speak 
to her with the voice of God now ; yet here 
she was standing to listen. She hated herself, 
but she was rooted to the spot. 

Presently Philip joined her. On her pale 
downcast face he fancied he read a suspicion 
of what he was going to say. He took her 
cold hand, and smiled down upon her, not 
speaking directly. 

" Well ? " said Griselda, unable to bear this. 

'' Dear," he began, blunderingly, and bit his 
lip with vexation. 

Griselda did not look up. She took her 
hand away. Now that it was actually coming, 
she began to wish he would not say it. Had 
Ralph been within call at that moment she 
would have cried to him ; but as Philip 
paused, the other feeling returned. Why did 


he not go on ? She forgot Ralph again. 
Philip, having begun with a blunder, went 
straight to the point, feeling he could not 
trust himself to be too gentle to her. It was 
better to be a little rough than to betray him- 
self, and make her despise him for ever. 

'' I have had a letter from Ralph," said 

This was not the beeinnine Griselda had 

" It Is about you. He is anxious about you. 
He wants you to write more fully about — 
your friends — and things of that sort. He 
asks me If all your friends are worthy of you. 
I think he feels a long way off from you, 
Griselda, and Is afraid you may need him." 

Griselda was undeceived. The sudden re- 
vulsion of feelinor was too much for her. She 
turned away and sat down at a distance, the 
tears rolling down her cheeks. 

Philip looked at her : It was very hard to 
see her cry. 

*' Griselda, don't be unhappy," he said, pres- 
ently. " There is no need for that. I am 


going to write to Ralph and say it is all right. 
You will write too, sooner than usual, and he 
will understand at once." 

'' No." 


*' It is not all right." 

" I don't understand." 

" Don't you ? " 

Philip's heart was beating again. He really 
had forgotten himself now. But this was bad 
news for Ralph. What did she mean ? 

Griselda felt herself growing desperate. 
This foolish conversation was intolerable. 

*' Griselda, what do you mean ? You will 
make Ralph unhappy." 

*' I can't help it." 

*' Griselda ! " A pause. 

" I am not going to marry Ralph," said 
Griselda at last, rising, her hands clasped 
behind her back, and her eyes dilated. 

This was terrible. In the whirl that fol- 
lowed in Philip's mind, all power of reasoning 
vanished. He was quite unprepared for this 
announcement of Griselda's. But he caught 


at a few straws of old tradition floating in the 
whirlpool, and answered, while he backed a 
little into the window — 

" You must. You have promised him." 

" I can't keep my promise," sobbed Gris- 
elda ; "my heart is broken." She flung her- 
self on the sofa, burying her face in the cush- 
ions. In the midst of her misery, she felt 
a strange, wretched relief in the sense that 
he had answered so — that he was stronger 
than she. 

The storm had begun outside : rain was 
beatinor ag^ainst the windows, and the room 
was dark, as if the evening had already de- 
scended. A flash of lightning suddenly lighted 
up the room, and burned the scene Indelibly 
into Philip's memory. He never forgot that 
moment, nor the graceful, girlish form before 
him, the white clenched hand, and the wealth 
of disordered golden hair. 

*' Griselda, why can't you keep your pro- 
mise ? " 

Philip could not hear her answer; but he 
caught the words, '' Some one else.'* 


He came over and shook her fiercely by 
the arm. 

'' Child, get up. You don't know what you 
are saying. There can be no one else for 

She sat up ; her tears ceased. After a 
minute she answered, calmly, '* There is : I 
love some one else." 

" Griselda, you must not. You cannot. What 
are you thinking of ? " 

" I am thinking of Ralph. I cannot marry 
him. I love some one else." 

He dropped her arm and went away from 
her again. 

" Since when ? " he gasped. 

'' All along, I suppose. I did not know." 

" Griselda, you must not do it. You must 
marry Ralph, or else you will break his 

'' Mine was broken long ago. I know," she 
added, " that makes no difference. I would 
not hurt him if I could help it. But I cannot 
marry him." 

She joined him again in the window, look- 


ing up with her old childish confidence. This 
sternness on his part was unbearable. 

Another whirl in Philip's mind — another 
clutching at floating spars of belief. He dared 
not stay. 

" Good night, Griselda," he said gravely, 
and stretched out his hand for his hat. 

" Are you going ? " 

" I must. And I am going to leave Flor- 
ence, Griselda. This is good-bye." 

She laid an icy hand in his, saying quietly, 
'' Good-bye." 

Again he retained it for a moment, and they 
looked at each other bravely. It was almost 
too much. That little minute seemed a long 

Then Griselda snatched her hand away and 
rushed from him, up-stairs to her own room. 

She had panted and trembled : her cheeks 
one moment scarlet, the next ashy white. The 
faintest emotion always showed on her face, 
and she had had no command over her expres- 
sion now. But Philip had long practised 
control over his features. Almost dizzy with 


excess of feeling, he had nevertheless looked 
down upon her, his face cold, stern, and im- 

He left the room, descended the staircase, 
and was going out into the rain. Mr Mortimer 
heard him, and presently was at his side. He 
said something, Philip knew not what. He 
kept him talking for several minutes ; the 
young man stood, apparently listening but 
not hearing or answering a single word. In 
process of time Philip recovered himself suf- 
ficiently to turn away and, making some feeble 
excuse, to leave Mr Mortimer's room and pro- 
ceed towards the door. 

Meanwhile Griselda had locked herself into 
her boudoir, and thrown herself wildly on her 
face on the floor. 

*' I can't bear it," she cried aloud. She 
stretched out her hands imploringly, as if to 
call him back ; then she rose and hid the key 
of the door, lest she might be tempted to run 
down the stairs after him. The agony of the 
moment was intolerable : she was bruised and 
wounded and crushed past enduring. 


The sense that PhlHp despised her, that he 
had risen in triumph above the moment, and 
had gone away righteous, stern, accusatory, 
was agony to her; the reHef she had felt on 
first perceiving that he was stronger than she 
had vanished. She was humiliated by her 
own self-betrayal. She was angry with him. 
Besides, there was the pain of parting, the 
sense that he had gone away for ever per- 
haps ; but wounded pride was her most prom- 
inent feeling, and she longed despairingly to 
be by his side once more, to reassert her own 
dignity, or perhaps to see some change in his 
cold composure. 

Presently she heard a door open and shut : 
she started to her feet, and ran out on the 
landlnof that she mieht look down on the stair- 
case. She saw her father's door open ; she 
heard Philip explaining that he was going to 
leave Florence to-night. He was not gone 
then. Just then a servant approached Gris- 
elda with a letter. A sudden impulse seized 
her. She pointed to Philip. 

" Go to Mr Temple. Stop him as he Is 


going away. Tell him I wish to speak to him 
in the little salon alone." 

The servant obeyed. Griselda rushed back 
into her room, swallowed a glass of cold water, 
smoothed her hair, and ran down-stairs. She 
waited in the drawing-room, summoning all her 
dignity, that she might prove to Philip she 
was not a feeble child immeasurably below 

The servant delivered the message. Philip 
felt he ought not to go, but at the moment could 
invent no excuse for disobeying. Mr Morti- 
mer and the servant would think disobedience 
strange. He could not bear to expose Gris- 
elda even to the slight annoyance of question- 
ing. He determined to be silent and cold ; to 
escape as soon as possible. He followed the 
servant back to the little salon. There stood 
Griselda, her eyes flashing, her mien defiant 
and resolute. Philip entered with eyes cast 
down. She felt triumphant, above him now. 

Again a flash of lightning and a peal of 
thunder. Griselda shivered. 

" Oh how dreadful that noise is," she said. 


faintly. Philip was relieved. It appeared a 
natural, everyday remark. 

" It seems just overhead now," he replied, 
calmly. Then they were both silent. Her 
composure was shaken somewhat. 

" You are leaving Florence very suddenly," 
she said, thinking she must say something. 

'' Very." 

'* Are you going to London ? " 

'' Yes.'' 

'* Will you see Ralph ? " timidly. 

Philip hesitated. " I suppose so." 

'' Tell him — I will write." A pause. Philip 
made one effort to set matters right again. 

" You will marry him, Griselda ? " 

" I did not say that." Her head drooped. 

'' You must, Griselda : you must do right." 

"It is not right to marry one man if you 
love another." 

'' You must stamp that love out. People 
have to do that sometimes if there is to be 
any faith and goodness In the world." 

" I can't. It Is the strongest thing about 


" You must." 

*' Look at me. I am not strong. Nothing 
about me is strong but that. Of course it 

He did look at her. She returned the gaze, 
priding herself on her self-control. It was too 
much for her. Suddenly she staggered. Philip 
thought she was falling, and stretched out his 
hand to support her. 

** Sit down, Griselda." 

" No. I wish to stand," she replied, deter- 
mined to own no weakness. But the tears 
forced themselves into her eyes, and she trem- 
bled violently. Philip's lip quivered. His 
resolution was failing. 

'' Griselda," he said, mournfully, " is it my 

She felt angry again. He was so quiet and 
cold. He should no^ look down upon her 
thus. She would no^ own it first, if it was to 
be owned at all. She drew away from him 
proudly. She would not allow it to be owned. 

" What do you mean ? You have no right 
to speak to me so." 


Philip approved ; but immediately rose in 
his mind the lover's yearning and jealousy. 

** Griselda, tell me." 

'' Let me go." She spoke bravely ; never- 
theless he saw her affection in her eyes. 

Another terrific peal of thunder. Griselda 
trembled nervously : she turned to him for 
protection, poor child ! 

Again he stretched out his hand to support 
her. He was not cold and impassive now. 

'' O Griselda, it is no use ! " exclaimed 
Philip. " Why did you call me back ? We 
have done it now! It is hopeless!*' 

She looked up, frightened and bewildered : 
this sudden failure on his part took away her 
presence of mind. 

She made no resistance as he drew her to 
his arms, and kissed her forehead passionately. 

" Griselda, what are we to do ? How can 
we help it ? " 

" We can't help it. It is fate. We must 
accept it," she replied, resting her head for a 
moment on his shoulder. Then she looked 
up inquiringly. 


*' Very well, Griselda : we will. We belong 
to each other from henceforth," said Philip, 
moving to a little distance and looking at her. 
Then he came back and drew her to his arms 
again. ** Come and sit down, Griselda. It is 
a relief to have come to a decision at last." 
She burst into tears again, and clung to him, 
sobbing quietly, while he whispered words 
of consolation and endearment. Neither of 
them noticed that the door was opened cau- 
tiously for a few inches ; that a pair of eyes 
was fixed on them for a moment — nay, for a 
long minute ; that the door shut again quietly, 
and that some one stepped softly down the 
stairs and out into the street. The rain was 
still falling in torrents, and the thunder still 
growled and roared ; but there was a break 
in the clouds overhead, and the lightning was 
less brilliant and frequent The storm was 
passing over. Philip and Griselda heeded 
it not. 



The passion of that first embrace spent Itself. 
In a little while they were both quiet and 
calm. They were silent ; their hands were 
clasped, and occasionally they looked at each 
other with a smile. It was a supreme moment 
of Intense, reckless delight, such as we seldom 
have more than once or twice In a lifetime. 
Such moments die like all other earthly de- 

Griselda, who never saw more than one 
thing at a time, could have remained there 
for hours, asking for no change. She was 
perfectly content, poor child. The past was 
forgotten for the moment. The future did 
not trouble her. He would settle everything. 
It was such a comfort that the long struggle 
was over; that the decisive step had been taken. 


She could almost have fallen asleep there 
in the still, gloomy room. She had lain awake, 
tossing in restless passion for night after night, 
and the agitation of to-day had worn her out. 
Now she was perfectly content ; perfectly at 
peace. The storm-tossed vessel had reached a 
haven, and it was the haven where she would be. 

Philip saw a faint colour stealing over the 
pale cheeks, a gentle smile dimpling round her 
lips. Her eyes were closed, and the long lashes 
lay on her cheek, softly and restfully as those 
of a little child. She felt his gaze, and the 
smile deepened. Philip pressed her fingers 
more tightly. 

He was not content — not happy. If the 
cup of enjoyment was as eagerly quaffed by 
him as by her, there was this difference between 
them : he knew it was poisoned. 

After the excitement of the first moment he 
perceived what he had done, and with the 
perception came pain : not yet regret. Much 
passed through his mind, while Griselda waited 
so peacefully for him to speak ; and by degrees 
the pain deepened. Gloom was becoming the 


settled expression of his features, though he 
had always an answering smile ready for hers. 
The poison was beginning to work. 

At length Philip rose. 

" Griselda." 

'' Yes ? " It was so lovely, that dimpling 
smile. Had she swallowed poison too ? It 
was several minutes before he continued. 

" My darling, what are we going to do 

" Whatever you wish." 

*' We must marry. It will make you happy, 

*' You know It will," she whispered ; pres- 
ently she added, ''and you — you will be 
happy ? You will like it ? " 

" Of course I shall like it. I love you, 
Griselda ; we shall be always together ; we 
shall think of each other in everything we do. 
We shall never part. Do you think it will 
not be pleasure to me to see your sweet face, 
Griselda, always gladdening my little house ; 
to hear your sweet voice ringing for me ? " 

" We shall be very happy." 


He did not answer at once. Presently he 
said, gravely — 

'' I am afraid not, Griselda. We shall not 
be happy." 

She looked up and read his meaning in his 
face. She turned pale, and spread out trem- 
bling, supplicating hands. 

^'DonV' she said; "don't." 

" Griselda, we must think of it. We must 
face it. Now, Griselda." 

She covered her face with her hands. 
" Ralph ! " she cried, with a sudden rush of 

Philip made no answer. *' Oh ! " cried 
Griselda, passionately, *' why is it that no one 
can ever be happy unless some one else is 
sacrificed ? We shall have to tell Ralph ! 
We shall break his heart. We oug^ht not to 
have done it," cried Griselda, wringing her 
hands. " I ought not to have done it. I 
should have gone away. I have been wicked." 

*' It is irrevocable now, Griselda. Yes, we 
have done wrong ; not you only. But it is 
done now." 


''And we must go on. We cannot part." 

" No ; we must hold together now. We 
cannot desert each other now." Then they 
were silent again. The girl was shaken by 
sobs. Her short happiness had vanished with 
terrible suddenness. " We cannot part," re- 
peated Philip. " Griselda, look up ; speak to 
me. I will bear all the blame. It is my due. 
Would that I could also bear all the suffering. 
But it will fall on us both. We will not de- 
ceive ourselves. We shall be what is called 
happy — of course we shall. But we shall have 
an eternal heartache also." 

" Never mind about ourselves," said Gris- 
elda. " We shall be happy enough. I am 
very happy now. I can't help it. But think 
of him! Think how we have deceived him ! " 

Philip turned his head away. " I do think 
of him, Griselda. He trusted me. I have 
rewarded him thus." Philip walked to the 
window. The storm had rolled over and the 
lightning had ceased ; a distant peal of thunder 
still groaned and rattled. People were begin- 
ning to hurry through the wet streets. Philip 


noticed all that as he stood looking out and 
thinking over what had happened. Griselda 
was almost frightened by the change on his 
face. There was a wild look in his far-away- 
eyes, and on his seamed and throbbing fore- 
head, that startled her. She followed him to 
the window, drawing his arm round her, and 
looking up tenderly, as if to help him. 

'' Dearest Philip ! " 

" Griselda," said Philip abruptly, staring 
down at her sweet face, so loving and tender, 
" I can't do it." 

'' You can't do what, Philip ? " 

*' Sacrifice Ralph. I cannot snatch my own 
happiness, even though it involves yours, at 
the cost of destroying his. Griselda, I cannot 
do it. He trusted me. I cannot build my 
happiness with his broken heart." 

'' Oh," cried Griselda, '' my heart echoes it 
all. I feel it too. But what can be done ? 
We cannot part!" 

" No, we cannot part. There is only one 
way, Griselda. Have you courage for it ? I 
have." He spoke steadily, though his eyes 


were flashing. ''We cannot live together while 
Ralph is suffering. We can die. We shall 
not be the first who have chosen hell to be 

Griselda still clung to him. " You mean — 
you mean ? " 

" We can die together, Griselda. Listen ! 
Do you hear the thunder still ? If the light- 
ning came and slew us here — now — in each 
other's arms ? " 

" It will not come." 

''No; but there are other ways — better 
ways — that would explain to him. Are you 
brave, Griselda ? " 

" Yes, with you. I could not do it myself. 
I could let you do it.'' She trembled. Not 
for a moment did Griselda doubt that he 
meant it. If she had doubted, she would 
have misunderstood him. He had never been 
more terribly in earnest. 

" It will not save Ralph's broken heart," 
continued Philip ; " but at least we shall be in 
no paradise. It is the only way we can dare 
to stay together, Griselda." 


They sat down again in dreary composure, 
thought busy in each. PhiHp was calmer than 
he had been before. Strange though it may 
seem, the solution at which he had arrived 
was a relief. His imagination was already 
picturing a new sphere in which he and Gris- 
elda, having entered by so terrible a portal, 
might dare to find the happiness of being 
together. The unseen world had always 
been strangely real to Philip, and his pro- 
posal now did not appear to him unnatural 
or unbearably terrible. That they might 
lose their identity in the awful step into 
another world, did not occur to him. In 
a new scene, among new surroundings, they 
would be themselves still, and that meant 
loving as now. And Ralph would be satis- 
fied ; out of his sorrow he would pardon 
and pity. He would understand them then, 
and know they had but obeyed the In- 

But to Griselda, who knew nothing about 
the next world, the idea of death did not 
wholly obliterate the idea of parting. To lie 


beside him In the cold grave meant very little 
to her; she could feel and understand his 
strong arm around her now. The thought of 
dying with him, by his hand, presented itself 
to her, not as a consolation, but as a fearful 
necessity — something to be borne for his sake. 
She would not flinch — she loved him too well 
for that; but the trembling, frightened girl 
could not like the suofaestion. 

" We shall not be the first who have chosen 
hell to be together," repeated Philip. The fire 
at his heart was blazing up again. 

Griselda paled. 

" Why must we choose hell ? " she asked, 

" There is no heaven for us together." 

" But hell means wickedness. Oh no, we 
must not choose that ! We have been wicked. 
We will not choose it now. Philip, dearest 
Philip, let us die, if you see no other way ; but 
let us help each other to choose Heaven and 
Right ! " 

" There is no heaven for us," said Philip, 


** What Is it ? " whispered Griselda ; " what 
are you thinking of?" 

" Of Ralph — and his broken heart." 

A long pause followed. The evening sun 
had struggled out after the storm, and was 
gilding the windows, the mirrors, and Gris- 
elda's hair. Philip watched It and her. Grad- 
ually his mood changed. 

" I see a better way," she said at last, In a 
low voice. 

He understood her. Tears had filled her 
eyes — not bitter ones. He bent over her, not 
without tears also. 

** My darling, have we courage for that ? 
It Is worse than the other." 

'' But it would save Ralph," whispered 
Griselda, brokenly. 

He did not answer. A long time passed. 
To each sad face some peace and serenity had 
nevertheless returned. The sun sank below 
the horizon ; bells were ringing softly through 
the sweet, freshened air. 

The two remained silent, nerving themselves 
for the coming wrench. 


They explained nothing : they understood 
each other too well. The struggle, the temp- 
tation were over. The storm had passed by, 
and as in the air outside, freshness and peace 
had returned. At last Philip rose, and silently 
left the house and her. 


1 62 


Grtselda sat still where he had left her. 
The pale face grew paler ; she was almost too 
ill to think. When Mr Mortimer joined her, 
he was shocked by her appearance, and for 
once admitted that she was unfit for her even- 
ing's work. Griselda went to her room and 
locked herself in there : she sat down on the 
floor. There she remained motionless, with 
straining eyes staring out into the darkness, 
and clenched hands pressed to her brow. 
After a long time tears came to her relief; 
but the sobs that shook her with convulsive 
force completed the exhaustion of the day. I 
think she fainted at the last ; for after a while 
she found herself lying quite still, with no con- 
sciousness of what her last thought had been. 


nor of what had stopped her tears. She made 
no effort to stir, and presently nature sent the 
only restorative possible. Worn out, miser- 
able, she sank into a heavy, dreamless sleep. 

Several hours later Griselda awoke, cold 
and stiff from her hard couch ; the moon, her 
sole light when she had fallen asleep, vanished. 
Trembling, and groping in the dark, too much 
bewildered to seek a candle, she undressed 
and crept into her bed. Something like peace 
had returned. There was still work left for 
her in life : perhaps they might meet again in 
happier times, when the battle had been fought 
and won. 

And Philip ? 

He had gone from Griselda out into the 
street, where already the stones were begin- 
ning to dry from the rain, and where all was 
quiet and still after the shining sunset. The 
weather was yet uncertain, and heavy masses 
of cloud from which the evening radiance had 
faded, lingered above the horizon ; but at the 
moment all was fair and peaceful. It suited 
his mood. He paused before entering the 


hotel, wandering slowly through the narrow 
streets and thinking of Griselda. He did not 
feel sad ; he was almost happy in the sense 
of conquest. They had been on the brink of 
wickedness and misery ; but they had escaped, 
and the remaining sorrow was almost welcome. 
Philip had not yet begun to regret. He would 
have bartered much for that one hour of tri- 
umphant and acknowledged passion. He had 
had it ! Not yet could he wish it recalled. 
But the consequences of that hour had nearly 
been too dreadful : he had almost abandoned 
all the resolutions of his life. Thank God, 
that danger was escaped ! The recollection of 
it still made Philip shiver. But now it was 
over; they had parted for ever. He might 
love her now as much as he would ; his love 
had no dishonour, no treachery In it. He had 
renounced her, and the pain he suffered was 
a legitimate pain. He had not dragged her 
down Irrevocably ; he could honour her while 
he loved her — nay, he could look up to her : 
she had been the first to say, " We must 
choose the Right." 


Philip was fantastic, you think ? Half in 
dreams already ? He should not have been 
able to moralise so neatly while Griselda was 
breaking her loving little heart for him, when 
he had done such irreparable mischief ? Poor 
Philip ! 

He entered at last. How strange it seemed 
coming back to the place he had left so few 
hours before! It all looked the same: he 
felt so different. The room hardly appeared 
natural with everything in its usual place : 
his boots, his papers, his pictures and books 
lying about as he had left them. There was 
the blotter open on the table, and the quill- 
pen stuck in the ink-bottle. He remembered 
the half- finished letter to Ralph. Terribly 
unnatural that letter ! He would destroy it at 
once. Philip stretched out his hand for it, his 
face burning a little as the sentences flashed 
across his mind. Here it was, where he had 
left it. 

The young man took the unfinished letter 
into his hands and gave it one hasty glance ; 
then he staggered, dizzy and shaking, into the 


nearest chair. The paper fell from his grasp 
into the flames of the wood -fire, and was 
quickly reduced to ashes. An attempt to 
recover it, after a moment's stupor, was use- 
less — it curled, blazed, and fell to pieces; for 
one instant every word stood out illuminated 
by the blaze on the charred and blackening 
paper. That momentary resurrection was not 
needed to deepen the strong impression made 
by the one glance on Philip's mind. Some- 
thing was written across his letter, in large 
letters, a single word — " False." 

Who had done it ? What was it ? A cold 
shudder passed over Philip's frame, and the 
perspiration started in beads to his forehead. 
For a moment he dared not raise his eyes and 
assure himself that he was the sole occupant 
of the room. Me felt haunted ; and the attempt 
to rouse himself and return to his habitual sense 
and reason was for some time futile. 

Presently he rang the bell, calling himself a 
fool for his agitation. 

** Who has touched my things ? " 

''No one, Monsieur" (offended). 


*' Who has been here ?" 

" No one" (surprised). 

" Has no visitor called while I was out ? " 

" Not one" (impatient). 

Philip could not unravel the mystery. He 
almost fancied it a trick of his imagination. 
Who could know enough of the truth to 
choose that untrue word ? 

The poison was working again. This ner- 
vous dread, this sharp self-reproach, were 
very different from the half-unreal ecstasy of 
an hour before. All night the word " false " 
rang In his ears ; he could not sleep ; could 
not think of Griselda, whether sadly or hope- 
fully ; could not look at the future and his 
place therein. In the morning, his haggard 
face and sunken gleaming eyes betrayed his 
emotion. He longed to begin his homeward 
journey. Florence had become hateful to 
him. But a delay in the receipt of some 
money he was expecting prevented his leav- 
ing the city for another day : he shut him- 
self up in his room till late in the afternoon. 
Before this he received a note from Griselda, 

j68 a dreamer. 

which he opened, not without apprehension. 
The first words reassured him — 

" Don't come here, please ; but read the 
enclosed letter to Ralph, and tell me if I ought 
to send it. He will want to know why I have 
not written before. But what can I tell him ? 
I have given no reason at all. He must never 
guess the truth if we are to go on ; and I can't 
tell stories. I have tried to write kindly, but 
it is not kind enough. I can't make it any 
better. Tell me what I ought to do, but don't 
come here. I have told the messenger to 
wait. G. M." 

Philip hastily wrote a reply. Sealing it 
appeared like sealing the bitter parting. 

" I think you had better send it. I will see 
him as soon as possible and set everything 
right for you. I can't tell yet what will be 
best to say to him, but I will let no blame rest 
upon you, Griselda. Some day I hope you 
will be able to forgive me. I despise myself. 


Forgive me when you can. I say nothing 
about God's forgiveness : people talk so lightly 
of that ! I will write and let you know the 
result of my visit to Ralph, and then let 
there be silence between us. We must not 
drift into a correspondence under any pretext. 
Good-bye for ever. P. T." 

Those doleful words, " Good-bye for ever," 
remained in Philip's brain. The whole room 
seemed to be repeating them to him. He 
could stay in it no longer. 

'' I will tell Ralph no lies if I can help it," 
he said to himself as he went out ; ** but I 
must save her. I could not too much blame 
myself; but if I can't blame myself without 
blaming her ? Spirit of Wisdom, teach me 
what to say to Ralph ! The Truth, answers 
my Theory of Life. But the truth will ruin 
us all ; and Ralph shall not be ruined if my 
power can save him. Good heavens, in w^hat 
a predicament have I placed myself! That 
to lie more or less, as the case may be, is the 
only means of doing right! It is not doing 


right. No matter : to save them I will sell 
my soul. Heaven knows, I shall gain no self- 
satisfaction in doing so. Oh, mysterious Fates 
who have worked miracles in your day, work 
a miracle now, and save me from this lie. If 
Ralph asks no question it will be a miracle. 
And for my peace of mind's sake — for Truth's 
sake, Omniscience, tell me who it is that has 
called me ' false ; ' teach me if the word be to 
me an accusation, a prophecy, or a warning. 
When I know that, perhaps it will cease to 
haunt me." 

Philip had not gone farther than to the 
nearest bridge, the beautiful Ponte Santa 
Trinita. Again it was a stormy evening, 
and the sombre streets and old dark houses 
of Florence, called the Fair, were stern and 
unlovely in their gloom. The few inhabitants 
who had ventured out of their houses passed 
along swiftly and fiercely, at war with the 
elements, like bad spirits hurrying to their 
destiny. Mournfully the dark waters rushed 
beneath the bridge ; low hung the clouds on 
the silent, surrounding hills. The spires and 


domes of the city rose dim and ghostly through 
the mist, like evil deeds towering above the 
haze of memory ; but all was drowned in the 
ceaseless rain, falling as the weeping of one 
whom no comfort can touch. 

Was it thus that Griseldas tears would 
flow ? 

Looking out sadly into the future, Philip 
saw no likelihood of a happy life for her. 
Ralph would always be tender and gentle 
and loving : but he had never thoroughly 
understood her ; and it was only too likely 
that he and Griselda would never be wholly 
united at heart. Philip fancied he saw her as 
she would be in a few years' time — pale, sub- 
dued, disappointed, with deep scars from the 
wounding of to-day — a saddened, joyless wo- 
man — like many another, alas! whose story 
we do not know. 

Just then a clock struck with the mellow 
suddenness that rouses one in deep stillness. 
It was followed by the Ave Maria from the 
campaniles round. 

A softer vision rose before Philip's eyes. 


He saw again the future Griselda — pale, sub- 
dued, disappointed, scarred ; but he saw her 
inner life also : the Inward peace of victory 
won; the daily walk of little services, little 
obediences, little self-annihilations ; the quiet 
love and honour for her husband ; his love 
and honour encircling her ; the melody, like 
that of her own sweet voice, of a life devoted 
to righteousness, finding happiness in sor- 
row. It might wear her out soon, this life 
of continual self-subduing. Griselda's was too 
vehement a nature to be kept down without 
suffering. Perhaps she would not live long 
enough to attain to complete victory. God 
might be content with the struggle only, see- 
ing that He does not need results to judge of 
actions. Perhaps afterwards in another world, 
where the barriers of earth had been removed, 

he and she He would not think of it. 

Hence ! Welcome rain, and this cutting 
northern wind ! Better not think at all, if 
thought will run in that direction. Hence, 
vain dreamer, hence ! 



Philip rushed back to England as fast as 
quick trains would carry him, and almost 
drove himself into a fever with hurry and 
impatience. His servants were astonished by 
his unexpected arrival and unusual appear- 
ance, and at once decided that some calamity 
had befallen him. Meeting himself unexpect- 
edly in a looking-glass, his haggard and care- 
worn appearance startled himself; but inward- 
ly he felt better than he had done that last 
day in Florence. He had set himself a task 
for this evening, which, though both difficult 
and disagreeable, was a welcome one, from the 
bare fact that it was something to do in the 
work of reparation. Having swallowed a 
hasty meal, he jumped into a hansom and 
drove to Ralph's lodgings. 


All the way he was considering the state- 
ment he was prepared to make, and devoutly 
praying that, if ever miracles were possible, 
Ralph might ask him no questions, and so 
make this wretched statement unnecessary. 
He hated the part he was playing now ; but 
it had to be done. About the result he was 
far from comfortable. Philip was by no means 
confident of his own power to deceive Ralph : 
reserved he had been all his life, but deceitful 
never; and he felt an intense repugnance to 
this new line of conduct. But it had to be. 

Since leaving Florence, Philip had been in 
a tremendous hurry ; now he found himself 
wishing the driver of the hansom would be 
less speedy. His heart was beating so vio- 
lently that he felt really ill, and greater and 
greater became his aversion to the task before 
him. Once he was on the point of giving it 
up, and had even raised his hand to stop the 
vehicle. But he checked himself No; in 
this instance, to leave things to Fate was to let 
them go to the devil. It would be cowardice 
to desert Griselda now. He must go at it. 


" Would it were morning and all well ! " 
said Philip, grimly, as he rang the bell, re- 
flecting that Griselda's letter had preceded 
him by at least twelve hours. He had got 
out of the hansom noisily, and Ralph had 
probably seen him ; but no one appeared till 
he had rung twice. The delay was dreadful : 
Philip thought it would never end. At last a 
red-haired girl opened the door. 

" Is Mr Lindsay in ? " said Philip, impa- 

" Yes, sir — no, sir ; leastways, Mr Lindsay 
says, sir, he's sorry as he can't see you to- 
night," said the girl, flurried, for she felt 
afraid of Philip, who looked fierce and un- 

*' Oh, nonsense !" cried he, too much excited 
to speak smoothly. " I must see him. He'll 
let me in, I know. Let me pass." 

" No, sir," said the girl, shaking with fright ; 
** he said very particular as you wasn't to be 
let in." 

''Shut the door, Esther, and come here," 
called Ralph's voice from the inside. 


'' I say, Lindsay ! it's I ! " shouted Philip. 
'' I must come in. I have something of im- 
portance to say to you." 

** I don't want to see you to-night, Temple," 
answered Ralph, who was close at hand, though 
unseen. He added in a low voice, unheard 
save by himself, ''Not yet — not yet. I cannot 
meet him yet. He is too dear to me still." 

" Shut the door, Esther," he said again, fear- 
ing that Philip would insist. Ralph sat at the 
table, his head bowed upon his hands. It was 
not thus in the mere weakness of sorrow that 
he meant to meet his false friend. 

But Philip did insist. He pushed Esther 
aside, and stepped into the room, where he 
and Ralph had often sat and chatted pleas- 
antly together. 

Ralph rose as he entered, and faced him. 
Philip had been deceived by the affectionate, 
if mournful tone in which Ralph had uttered 
the words, " Not to-night." He was unpre- 
pared for the poor fellow's appearance, as he 
rose from his attitude of dejection, and turned 
to meet the Intruder. For a moment the two 


men gazed at each other solemnly. Philip 
could not speak. 

" You see, Temple, I know all about it," 
said Ralph, gravely ; " but I am not ready to 
speak to you yet. Will you respect my wishes 
enough to let me choose my own time for our 
meeting ? It will not be a pleasant one. I 
have just received a letter from Griselda," said 
Ralph, bitterly. " I wonder if you helped her 
to write it ? " 

Still no words came to Philip. He was 
quite unprepared for this; but deep down in 
his heart was a feeling of relief that at least 
no lies were necessary. 

" Leave me now, Philip," said Ralph. '' If 
you will not — I must leave you. I am not 
going to speak to you to-night." He moved 
towards the door as he spoke. 

"O Ralph, forgive me!" exclaimed Philip. 

" How can I forgive you ? " answered 
Ralph ; and added, bitterly, " Henry knew 
you better than I did. But I do not want 
to reproach you now," he said, presently ; 
'' we shall meet soon enough. Let me shake 



hands with you once more, Philip, for — for old 
times' sake." His voice faltered. " Our friend- 
ship Is over, but not forgotten, is it, Philip ? 
Shake hands with me, won't you ? " But 
Philip did not take the offered hand. He 
turned away, and leaned upon the mantel- 
piece, burying his head on his arm. 

*' O Ralph, I — I gave her up," said Philip, 
presently ; *' we gave each other up. She will 
come back if you will let her. It was all my 
doing. At least forgive her. Don't destroy 
her for my fault." Philip raised his head and 
looked round earnestly. This was what he 
had come about : to plead for hqr, not for him- 
self. He was alone. Ralph had not heard him. 
He had left the room several minutes before. 

Philip waited, hoping he would return. But 
at last, finding Ralph did not do so, he slipped 
quietly out of the house, and went home — less 
excited, but more unhappy than he had been 
on setting out. Ralph's lingering affection was 
harder to bear than any reproaches. 

Philip called again in the morning. Early 
as he was, Ralph had already gone out. 


" He ain't generally so soon neither," said 
Esther, less afraid of Philip this morning. 

The next day was Sunday, and Philip made 
another attempt, but without success. Mr 
Lindsay had gone out for the whole day, and 
had left orders that no one was to be admitted. 
Mrs Robinson, the landlady, appeared herself 
this time, and was very peremptory and very 
inquisitive about Philip^s business. All her 
sympathies were with Ralph. 

" A good quiet gentleman as ever I see," 
she said, ''and I'm not agoing to see him 
bullied so long as my name's Martha Robin- 
son." The door was shut in his face, and 
Philip turned away, sick at heart. 

He wrote a little note. ''Why do you 
shrink from me thus ? It is unbearable. I 
have a confession to make to you, and an 
explanation. You must listen, for Griselda's 
sake : you are welcome to say anything you 
like to me ; but every hour's delay is increas- 
inof the mischief." 

An answer came by the next post. " My 
shrinking from you, Temple, is only tem- 


porary. I have a heavy reckoning to make 
with you, but intend to choose my own time 
for it. Till you hear from me, I must request 
you to abstain from this interference to which 
I have been subjected since Friday. I have 
written to Griselda, and am waiting to see 
you till I have her answer. O Philip, I never 
thought to write thus to you ! Don't delude 
yourself by thinking things can be mended 
now. To forget this that has happened will 
be as impossible as to forget my old affection 
for you, which has become the sharpest pain 
now of all my sorrow. Don't suppose I make 
no excuses for you. God knows, I believed in 
you as long as it was possible. Some things 
I might have forgiven, though they broke my 
heart — but this deliberate deceit and the false- 
hoods you were preparing to give me ! Did 
you know I read the letter you were writing 
to me, at the very time you were stealing her 
from me ? O Philip, how often, I wonder, 
has your pleasant talk been like that letter 
— mere dust to blind my eyes ? I have lost 
all faith in you for the past as well as for the 


future. We shall meet quite soon enough : 
let the poor ghost of our friendship linger for 
one more day. I am not well, and cannot bear 
the task of meeting you yet. You owe me 
enough to grant me this trifling wish. 

" Ralph Lindsay." 

" O Philip, I was glad to see you, in spite 
of all, on Friday night. Why did you refuse 
my hand when I offered it to you for the last 
time ? And you looked sorry : there was 
some comfort in that. Let me believe in 
your sorrow, though it can alter nothing." 

Philip crushed the letter in his hand, and 
stood speechless. " We are done for now," he 
thought. "He will not take her back." He 
sat down and wrote to Griselda. 

" I have failed utterly : you are the only 
person who can do anything. I wish you 
could see him," he wrote. 

** My poor, poor little darling !" cried Philip 
suddenly, thinking of the trouble into which 
he had brought her. Then returned tempta- 
tion — to rush back to her and cry. 

1 82 A DREAMER. 

" Ralph knows all about It somehow ; he 
will never forgive us. Come to me, Griselda, 
and I will save you from everything." 


Philip tried to think she would scorn him 
if he spoke thus to her ; he forced the tempta- 
tion aside, and thought again of Ralph. 

Who that has known the misery of suspense 
does not pity Philip during those few terrible 
days ? 

" Even if It all came right," he said, '' I shall 
have borne a grievous punishment." 

His servants were seriously alarmed by his 
looks ; his long night - walks ; his scarcely 
tasted food. Meeting one or two of his 
friends in the street, he crossed to the other 
side, with barely a nod of recognition. Their 
curious glances followed him, but he did not 
pause. He could meet no friendly eyes just 
then. The only person he tried to see was 
Agnes. Perhaps she could do something — 
he knew not what. Agnes and her husband 
were in Paris for two months. Philip could 
only wait, living he knew not how. 


On Tuesday he called again at Ralph's 
lodging, not asking for admission this time, 
but simply inquiring how he was. Esther's 
report was such that, on the following day, he 
called again. 



For several days after Philip's departure from 
Florence, Griselda heard nothing. The breath- 
ing - time was not unwelcome. True, she 
waited with anxiety for R^ph's answer to her 
letter, but not with great anxiety. As yet her 
thought of Ralph was chiefly concerned with 
the future. She had been unkind to him ; but 
he did not know to what extent. She would 
be able to comfort him for anything he had 
suffered. Dear, patient, loving Ralph ! Some 
of the old affection revived ; but still the 
thought of marriage with him terrified her, 
and the recollection of Philip was dangerously 
pleasant. She resolved not to think of Philip ; 
but she did think of him, morning, noon, and 
night. At times she longed to make it all up 


to Ralph, but oftener she wept over the cruel 
fate that parted her from Philip. Yet, on the 
whole, Griselda was conquering. Her ardent 
nature was steadfast enough when once she 
saw clearly what she wished to do ; and she 
was in no doubt at all now as to what she 
wished to do. She had given Philip up, and 
she wished to come back to Ralph. 

While waiting, she flung all her energy into 
her music, for she had to use it on something, 
if she was not to be consumed by it. She was 
at her piano all day, playing wild, impromptu 
melodies when sh^ was not sinpfino^. Her 
voice had never been so full and sweet, nor 
had she ever sung so well. She did not her- 
self notice the Improvement — she was too much 
absorbed to notice any external circumstance ; 
but her hearers were astonished, and the 

manager of the opera, SIgnor M , who had 

long been aware of her talents, thought the 
time had come to bring her forward. He was 
a severe and silent man, who never flattered, 
and seldom praised. Griselda thought him 
harsh and disagreeable, and was not attentive 


enough to Infer his approval from the absence 
of blame. To the compliments of her fellow- 
singers she scarcely listened. People said she 
had changed lately. The dimpling smile, the 
soft, sweet laugh, and the quaint, merry 
speeches which had amused and interested 
everybody, were all gone. She seemed wholly 
wrapped up in her work, and certainly her 
industry met Its meed of success. 

At length came a letter from Ralph. Grls- 
elda did not open It at once. It seemed as if 
that letter marked the very end of her sweet, 
hopeless dream. The old dreary life was 
returning. Griselda felt In no hurry to resume 
it. She broke the seal languidly, speculating 
on the writing, which seemed more rapid and 
less careful than usual. 

A bright red spot appeared on Griselda's 
cheek as she read, and her eyes dilated with 
some keen emotion. Then she suddenly fell 
on her knees, with a low, long-drawn sob. 

'' O God, help me ! " she cried again and 

The letter was earnest and bitter. 


'' It Is useless, Grlselda, to write to me as 
you have done in the letter I received this 
morning. I cannot understand your object in 
trying to keep up this deception, unless it be 
that you have already experienced the faith- 
lessness of the man for whom you have for- 
saken me. You see, Grlselda, that any further 
attempt at deception is useless. I know ex- 
actly what has occurred. Having a suspicion 
— I would not allow myself to distrust either 
of you — that all was not well, I went to Flor- 
ence. I arrived in a storm. You remember 
it, I daresay. Your father was out. I was 
shown into your drawing-room and asked to 
wait. But hearing your voice, Grlselda, In 
the next room, I looked in and saw you and 
Philip Temple together. You were too much 
occupied with him to see me, but I watched 
you for some time. I heard him making love 
to you. I saw him kiss you, and I saw you 
return his kiss. I left the house, Grlselda, and 
went to Temple's hotel, intending to confront 
him the instant he came in. But the sight of 
a letter he was in the act of writing to me, full 


of the most intolerable insolence and lying, 
overcame me too much, and I dared not meet 
him. I returned to England at once, and I 
daresay neither of you have heard of my visit. 
Now I am only waiting to hear again from 
you before I once more take steps to meet this 
man. A sorry task the meeting will be, for 
I loved him, Griselda. Next to yourself, I 
know no one who was dearer to me. 

" Griselda, I suppose that after what has 
occurred, our engagement is at an end ; yet 
do not imagine I love you less because you 
have proved every idea I had formed of your 
character to be a delusion. My poor child ! I 
well believe you are more his victim than his 
accomplice ; he has deceived you too, I dare- 
say. If I had not been a fool, I should never 
have trusted him ; for long ago, in our poor 
Henry's days, I learned, or might have learned, 
that he was not always trustworthy. And yet 
I cannot believe that either of you have done 
this deliberately. I try to make excuses for 
you still. 

'' But, Griselda, is there an excuse for your 


want of faith ? I know of none. I have never 
for a moment been unfaithful to you. Your 
letter, with its paltry attempt at hiding the 
truth, has given me another stab. Can you, 
the woman I loved, have written it ? At least 
let me believe it was at Temple's Instigation. 
But what am I to understand by it ? Has he 
asked you to marry him, or what ? I implore 
of you to be open with me ; and above all, I 
implore of you to have no more to say to him. 
He is trifling with you, as he has trifled with 
me, as he has trifled with others. Beware of 
their fate. One line from you, Griselda — a 
telegram will be best — will bring me to your 
side, and I will find some means of driving 
him from your sight. I do not promise to re- 
new our engagement — that depends on how 
matters stand ; and a marriage not founded on 
mutual trust is unlikely to bring happiness. 
But, Griselda, I love you still. I could forgive 
much to save you from one who has proved 
himself a deceiver. — Faithfully, Griselda, I 
sign myself, 

" Ralph Lindsay. 


'' P.S. — You need not show this to Temple. 
I have other words in store for him." 

This was Ralph's letter. Griselda wrung 
her hands in despair, and cried, " O God, 
help me ! " as she knelt beside her window. 
Prayer was an unfamiliar language to this poor 
child, and she made no prayer now, save in 
that one wild cry. She had never expected 
such a blow as this : it seemed to preclude all 
hope of recovery. All her thoughts were with 
and for Ralph now ; her only wish to convince 
him that she was not utterly and hopelessly 
faithless. But what could she do ? 

Poor, foolish child, in her horror at the sub- 
stance of the letter she scarcely perceived that 
Ralph had yet left a loophole for reconciliation. 
She misunderstood and overlooked almost each 
word in the letter, except the one terrible sen- 
tence in which he said he had seen Philip 
making love to her. He had not heard them 
renounce each other. 

" I must see him," she sobbed. '' I must 
tell him I have repented. I must have his 


forgiveness, and then I shall be glad to be 
wretched for the rest of my life. He must 
forgive Philip too," she said afterwards, when 
the storm had spent itself a little. " Philip 
never meant to deceive anybody. He is gone 
home; he will see Ralph. I hope they will 
not kill each other! I cannot bear it!" 

She did not dream for an instant that Philip 
might explain to Ralph and effect a reconcilia- 
tion. Everything seemed perfectly hopeless. 
She could think of nothing to do. Again and 
again she tried to write to Ralph, but always 
failed. *' What is the use of telling him I am 
sorry ? He will not believe it. He will smile 
sadly and cry, and never trust me again. Oh 
if I could but speak to him ! He would see 
then how wretched I am." 

She took out the letter to read once more, 
but did not pass the dreary first page with its 
bitter undertone of reproach. It fell from her 
hand as she sank on her knees, weeping. If 
she had read to the end she would not even 
then have noticed the promise to come if she 
called him. Had she noticed it she could not 


have called him. She, who ought to have 
been In the dust at his feet, to express one 
wish to him ! Impossible ! 

Then she tried to write to Philip. But she 
could find nothing to say. He had promised 
already to do his best for her. To urge that 
on him would but increase his pain. She 
found that the wish to write to him was only a 
wish to claim his sympathy, and she tore the 
unwritten letter, furious with herself. 

Two days passed and she had done nothing. 

Then came Philip's letter. She snatched it 
up eagerly. Out of the depths of her misery, 
the remembrance of his love was as water in a 
desert. Loving tears fell from her eyes on it. 
Then she flung it from her, hating herself, and 
wellnigh destroyed it unread. 

But no ! there might be news of Ralph. 

Ralph refused to speak to him. He had 
failed altogether. Ralph knew what had hap- 
pened. Griselda read impetuously ; she knew 
it all before — all except one thing, which haunt- 
ed her. '' They tell me Ralph is ill : would to 
God you were with him, Griselda ! " 


Her head drooped, and she wept. 

Suddenly a thought struck her — a hopeful 
thought that stopped her tears at once. A few- 
minutes of consideration, with knitted brow 
and burning cheeks, as she sat upright with 
her hands tightly clasped, turned the thought 
into a determination. 

She rose quickly and went to her father. 

He was smoking idly, with his eyes half 
closed, and no occupation before him. This 
supreme laziness of her father s was a standing 
annoyance to Griselda, who was always doing 
something with might and main. She spoke 
quickly and impatiently. 

*' Papa, listen to me, if you please. Will you 

go to Signor M for me at once, and say I 

wish to give up my engagement at the opera ? 
I cannot sing for several nights.'* 

" What's the matter now ? " said Mr Mor- 
timer, unmoved. 

" I am going to England." 

" Not if I can prevent it." 

"No one can prevent it." 

" You cannot give up your engagement." 


" Papa, you must go to Signor M and 

beg me off. I will come back as soon as I 
can, but I Intend to go." 

'' I shall do nothing of the kind." 

'* Then I will go to him myself." She was 
turning away, but he recalled her, speaking 
more quietly. 

"What is all this about, child .^ " The 
change of tone softened her. With voice 
slightly quivering she answered — 

'' Papa, I must go to Ralph. He is ill, and 
wants me." 

" Who told you so ? " 

'' I have had a letter, papa.'' 

" From whom ? " 

"From Mr Temple." 

" Show me the letter." 

" No." 

" What's the matter with him ? " 

" I don't know." 

" Is he very bad ? " 

" It isn't that," answered Griselda, petu- 
lantly ; " I want to speak to him about some- 


" Let him come here then." Griselda burst 
into tears. 

" Papa, Ralph Is angry with me. I must go 
to him. I have broken his heart. I am a 
wicked woman," she sobbed. 

" Don't be a fool, child." 

Griselda dried her tears. She was going 
again, but once more he checked her. '' Quar- 
relled with Lindsay, have you ? The best 
thing that could happen." 

" Papa, how dare you speak to me so ? " 

" I have foreseen this for some time." 

" Papa, you will make me hate you ! Once 
before you tried to make me wicked. Now 
you want to do It again ! " 

'' Do you think I could be content to throw 
you away on a chap like that ? I was an Idiot 
ever to let it be mentioned. That young 
Vivian would have married you. He Is rich 
and " 

" Papa, will you be quiet ? I cannot bear 
it. You are a wicked father. You have 
seen me doing wrong, slighting the best man 
I ever knew, and you want to make me worse. 


Fathers ought to help their children — tell 
them when they do wrong; and you like to 
see me wicked : you like to hurt me. You 
want to sell me, body and soul. I don't care 
about anything but Ralph," she went on, the 
tears coming again. " I must go to him and 
make him forgive me. I am too miserable." 

** Go to him ? Go to the devil ! " 

" Papa, please speak to Signor M for 


*' I shall not. And I shall not take you to 
England, you little fool." 

Griselda did not stay to waste more speech. 
She went up-stairs and called her maid. She 
was full of suppressed excitement as she said, 
quietly — 

** Luise, get ready to come out with me, 
please. I must go and see Signor M " 

On the way she further expounded her 
designs to the waiting -woman. 

" I am going to England to-morrow, Luise. 
That is what I am coming to see Signor 

M about. And you will have to come 

with me ; so, please, pack my things to-day." 


''Ach Gottf' said Luise. 

The poor little singer's heart beat as she 
was ushered into the manager's presence. 
She was afraid of him ; he was very stern 
and business-like, seeming to see no romance 
whatever in the profession, and making no 
room for feelings. Griselda had never cared 
enough about him to look for his real nature 
under his cold and formal exterior. She had 
no notion what was his opinion of her or of 
her singing, even though to-night she was to 
appear as Gretchen in " Faust " — she who had 
never sung in so important a part before. She 
had seen no particular significance in the fact, 
and had received congratulations with indiffer- 
ence. Every one but Griselda knew that the 
audience to-night was likely to be an Import- 
ant one, including some royal personages, one 
at least of whom was a notable judge of music. 
She had heard the announcement, no doubt, 
but had forgotten It directly. Her thoughts 
were elsewhere, and she never could see more 
than one thing at a time, poor child ! 

But she always trembled before Signor 


M , and the foolish quiver in her voice 

would rise when she was talking to him about 
nothing at all. She avoided speaking to him 
whenever she could, leaving her father to 
arrange all business details. Griselda hated 

selling her music, and Signor M , she 

fancied, never thought of music but as an 
article for sale. She imagined he had no more 
idea of the rapture a fine sound produced 
in her soul, than of the cause why rebellious 
tears would well up into her eyes at unseason- 
able moments. The fact was, that Signor 

M made a very good guess at both these 

emotions, and, besides, admired Griselda ex- 
ceedingly. He was a good man, and her man- 
ners pleased him : he thought her voice excel- 
lent and her talents very considerable. He had 
laid all manner of schemes for her encourage- 
ment, both professional and social, and he con- 
tinually praised her to his wife, a superior 
woman, usually kept by her husband as much 
aloof from theatrical matters as possible. 
When Griselda came to him with her trem- 
bling request, Signor M made difficulties. 


as became his position. He explained to her 
that to go away now, just when she was begin- 
ning to take a higher place, would be most 
detrimental to her interests. He half suspected 
that her usual nervousness was suggesting the 
request ; her courage had failed her when she 
thouo^ht of to-niofht. He condescended to tell 
her, for her encouragement, " Signorina, you 
sing exquisitely;" and Griselda flushed with 
pleasure, and was silent for a few minutes. 
Then she returned to the charge. 

*' I w^ill sine to-ni^ht. I will do whatever 
you like when I come back, if you will let me 
go to-morrow." 

He smiled at the naivetd of the bribe, but 
shook his head dubiously. " A friend who is 
ill ?" 

" It isn't only that," said Griselda, plead- 
ingly ; "if you knew all you would be sorry. 
Oh, if you have any kindness ! — And I must 
go," she added quietly, after a few minutes, 
*' with or without leave ; only my father will 
be so angry, if " 

" No, no, Signorina," interrupted Signor 


M , who, though Stern and business-Hke, 

had seen enough of the sorrowful side of Hfe 
not to divine some bitter hidden trouble be- 
neath the eager childish manner ; " if you must 
go, you must, and there is no more to be said. 
I will arrange it for you." 

Had he desired payment, Signor M 

would have had it in the look of gratitude that 
overspread the pretty face before him, and 
in the clasp of the little outstretched hand. 

Griselda returned home in high spirits. Her 
life seemed likely to be set in order now. She 
knew she had great power over Ralph. She 
would be able to gain his forgiveness when 
once she had his hand in hers. 

Had she forgotten Philip ? Griselda took 
out a little faded flower he had once given 
her. She had religiously burned everything 
else received from him, but she had kept this. 
There could be no harm in it, and it had a 
very sweet scent. Some flowers — rose leaves 
for instance — keep a rich, sweet scent for long 
after they are brown and withered. It is the 
undying poetry and soul of their existence. 


And there are dead passions, which keep a 
rich, sweet scent for ever. Such an one, 
thought Griselda, was her love for PhiHp 
Temple. She could not forget it ; its traces 
would remain in her heart for ever. But 
there was no harm in it now. I don't say 
she put this thought into words as she stood 
looking at the withered flower on which a little 
tear had fallen. If Ralph could have seen and 
understood that tear he need have felt no bit- 
terness. It was pure in its essence, pure and 
renunciatory. Don't say that Griselda could 
not have changed so much since the morning 
when she had received Philip's letter with 
eager delight simply because it was his letter. 
The two sensations were perfectly compatible, 
and Griselda acted with perfect consistency. 
Philip, that master of seeming paradoxes, 
would have understood her completely, and 
have appreciated her goodness on the two 
occasions. You see no goodness In that self- 
forgetfulness over the letter ? Very likely not. 
I did not say Philip would have been right in 
calling It goodness, or that I call it so myself. 


But, at any rate, she could not, being herself, 
have felt other than a thrill of pleasure on 
beholding the writing; she could not have 
destroyed the withered flower with the sweet 
undying scent, any more than she could have 
refused to go to poor wounded Ralph and cry 
for forgiveness. I have heard of offering our 
best and dearest in sacrifice. In proportion to 
what does the sacrifice rise in value ? Should 
the thing given be less or more valued ? Gris- 
elda was giving up her best and dearest, and 
she loved it perilously still. Was the sacrifice 
less valuable for that ? She had no business 
to love It ? But she did love it. Giving It up 
was rending her heart-strings. Ah, and his 
too ; that was the part she dared not think 
about : the thought of hurting him made her 
too wretched. 

No ; little flower, away ! if you bring that 
thought you must go : duty Is not possible yet 
with that thought. Away, little flower, till 
happier times are come ! 

Griselda ran down-stairs to her music. All 
day she was fully occupied. It was well for 


her ; It kept her spirit high, and prevented her 
from thinking of the long journey, and of the 
sad message the faded rose leaves had brought 
her. She felt happy almost : she was going to 
begin her life-work ; she hoped the struggle in 
her foolish heart was over at last. She longed 
to be with Ralph again, and to see the kind, 
sad face. She could not picture him sad : 
. she had never seen him other than patient 
and gentle. Griselda remembered the picture 
Philip had said was like him, and her eyes 
filled. But she was coming to him ! She 
would see a faint smile spread over the worn 
features. She would kneel at his feet, and 
they would mingle their tears together. She 
could not fancy what they would say to each 
other ; but it would all come right. Ralph said 
he loved her still ; she had never wished so 
much to love him. 

Thinking of all this, she drove to the 
theatre; still thinking of this, she came on 
the stage. You might have thought so much 
preoccupation would have spoiled her singing : 
not so ; It only prevented the self-consciousness 


that was the greatest enemy to her success. 
She had no attention to bestow on the audi- 
ence, or on any extraneous circumstance. The 
part she was playing seemed to come perfectly 
natural to her. It was a method of express- 
ing what was going on in her soul. You don't 
see it ? I daresay not. Griselda could not 
have explained it. She was in a rapture of 
some kind : we all have our moments of 
ecstasy, when we are lifted above and beyond 
ourselves ; when our life is set to music, major 
or minor, it matters not ; when common life 
is idealised, and we suddenly see the strange 
connections between things that before and 
after seem perfectly distinct, if not at vari- 

"Such harmony is in immortal souls. 
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it." 

Griselda surpassed herself that night. She 
took every one by surprise : you might have 
heard a pin drop in the stillness of the crowded 
building. People looked at each other be- 
tween the acts in a sort of bewilderment and 


said nothing. Later you saw tears In eyes 
unused to weeping. Griselda's study of the 
character did not help her much. She had 
not sung or acted so at any of the rehearsals : 
she created the character on the spot. She 
was Maroruerlte for the time belnp- : she was 
not unhappy little Griselda Mortimer singing 
to a crowd of strangers. Do you think the 
transformation Impossible ? I am sure Philip 
Temple could have shown you that such a 
thing, though rare, was understandable enough. 
He would have called In two or three theories 
to explain it at once. Griselda had no theories; 
she never understood what had possessed her 
that night. Surely her voice had never been 
so rich, so pathetic : she herself had never 
seemed so beautiful. People remembered 
her for years as she appeared that night, 
and spoke of her long after she had vanished 
from the place. 

There had not been such a sensation in the 
Florence opera for an immense time. Steady 
old opera-goers, who had heard everybody, 
said they never remembered such a scene, and 


the unexpectedness of the universal delight 
increased its intensity. 

When it was all over, Signor M , with 

tears still running down his cheek, seized 
Griselda's hand, and kissed it with excess of 
enthusiasm. ** Signorina, you have made your 
fortune ! " he exclaimed ; and the other singers 
crowded round her, saying the same. Gris- 
elda smiled gently, and made no reply. 

The royal connoisseur insisted on an in- 
troduction before he left the building, and 
paid the young girl a host of compliments 
which she scarcely heard. A crowd assembled 
to see her enter her carriage, and shouts fol- 
lowed her as she drove away. 

She did not speak on her way home. A 
little smile rose to her lips as she wondered 
at her success, and at her own coolness in 
receiving it. Would she be able to keep it 
all up, she wondered ? It was impossible to 
say. Clearly she was not herself to-night : 
she was as one inspired. Her singing had 
benefited by the condition of her mind, what- 
ever it was ; but her thinking acknowledged 


it too. Ralph, Philip, her father, her journey, 
her future life, — all shone before her golden 
in a vision of glory. Failure was ended^ diffi- 
culties had vanished ; strength from some 
unknown source possessed her soul. She 
acknowledged it all to herself, — looking on at 
the workinors of her soul from the outside In 
a prosaic and wondering way. 

Griselda peeped into her father's room on 
her way to bed. 

*' Say good-bye to me, papa. Oh, I am 
very happy to-night. You will hear all to- 
morrow. I cannot talk now. Good-bye, dear 
papa. Kiss me." 

She went to her room. 

For long hours she lay awake, not restless 
nor uncomfortable. Towards morning she 
sank into a light slumber; and she dreamed 
a troubled dream of Philip, who was calling 
to her over a vast gulf which she could not 
cross. She saw him vanishing slowly, with a 
ring of sorrow round his head ; she heard his 
voice sinking into silence as she still paced 
the dreary brink of the chasm in which dull 


waves were falling and moaning. Then a 
sudden light shone before her, and her hand 
was clasped in his ; but at this supreme mo- 
ment she awoke, and, behold, Lulse was stand- 
ing by her bedside, with Griselda's travelling 
dress In her hand. 

A new day had begun, ushered In by a 
restless sighing wind. Griselda rose and 
dressed for her journey, steadfast still, but 
quiet, and feeling a vague depression stealing 
over her heart which she could not resist. 



Mr Mortimer did not believe that Griselda 
would adhere to her resolution of going to 
London. He knew not the force of his 
daughter's will when she had once made a 
determination ; but he did know her constitu- 
tional timidity. 

" She will never face the journey by her- 
self," he said to himself, proving by the 
words how greatly he misunderstood her ; for 
Griselda's chief dread was by no means the 
long journey with the offended Luise. 

When Mr Mortimer saw his daughter drive 
off to the railway station, he was both sur- 
prised and vexed. It was a foolish expedi- 
tion altogether — the surest way in the world 
of spoiling her fortunes ; for though not a 
chivalrous man himself, Mr Mortimer per- 

VOL. II. o 


celved enough of Ralph's chivalry to be sure 
his offence would vanish the moment he saw 
Griselda penitent by his side. How any 
woman could be such an idiot as to resusci- 
tate a miserable affair of this kind, when it 
had to all intents died a natural death, he 
could not conceive. It was too irritating, 
after all the trouble he had taken for her. 
Mr Mortimer was not innocent of participa- 
tion in the slanders that had reached the ears 
of Ralph. (By which I do not mean any 
remarks concerning her and Philip : Mr Mor- 
timer, a stupid man, had never thought of 
the two together.) Behind Griselda's back, 
he had been at pains to assure his English 
acquaintances that he considered his daughter 
in no way bound to young Lindsay. He 
smiled over the engagement in an affection- 
ate parental fashion. 

'' A boy and girl romance — no more," he 
would say ; '* they are tiring of each other 
already." And then he would throw out hints 
respecting a gentleman, eligible in every re- 
spect, who was only waiting for encouragement 


to Step forward as a suitor. '' Indeed, I sus- 
pect there is some understanding between him 
and my dear little girl already," said Mr Mor- 
timer, who always looked respectable and 
virtuous in those days. 

He was not half as orreat a humbuor as he 
wished to be, or thought he was. At best he 
was a clumsy schemer, and seldom succeeded 
in overreaching any one but himself Also, 
when he was talking the greatest humbug, he 
was apt to be really in earnest, as he was on 
this occasion. He was proud of his daughter, 
and he thoroughly believed in his own idea 
about Arthur Vivian. 

But when Griselda, stupid child, actually 
went away, Mr Mortimer felt that all his plans 
were upset : she had done for herself now. 
Vivian would not marry a girl who had rushed 
half across Europe by herself, to have ten 
minutes' conversation with an offended lover. 
The father was fain to fall back on his older 
castle in the air, and scheme for making her a 
great singer. 

The day proved exciting to Mr Mortimer. 


Various people called upon him, all enthusi- 
astic in praise of Griselda's performance last 
night. The young and obscure actress had 
suddenly become the most noticeable person 
in Florence. People were rushing to engage 
seats for her next appearance, ** unavoidably 
postponed for a fortnight." Her portrait had 
appeared in every shop window. 

Signor M paid a complimentary visit 

to Mr Mortimer towards the close of the 
afternoon. He was in high spirits, repeating 
several times, " She has made her fortune, my 
dear sir. She has made her fortune, and mine 

Of course such an agitating day was not 
one of steady work for Mr Mortimer. His 
painting, indeed, had been rather neglected of 
late. It was a nuisance to be slaving from 
morning till night, and the public were not 
very quick to appreciate his pictures. He was 
engaged on a large work now, of which he had 
a dim suspicion that it would not do. It bored 
him ; to-day he did not touch it. 

It was a dreary, cold afternoon, unsuitable 


for out -door employment. Mr Mortimer 
yawned frequently as the day wore on. Cer- 
tainly the house was dull without Griselda. 
The child's voice sounded cheerful ; her short 
sentences and her pretty frowns amused him. 
Mr Mortimer was lonely. His visitors did not 
enliven him. They all said the same thing, 
and he began to be tired of it. " How stupid 
people can be over an interesting topic ! " he 
cried, despairingly. 

The little girl was well on her journey by 
this time. Foolish child, how soon did she 
mean to return ? Where did she mean to stay 
in London ? What would people say of her ? 
He was very wrong in allowing her to go. 
He should have gone with her. Stuff! she 
had Luise. 

Mr Mortimer smoked, and drank, and ate 
his dinner. Then he smoked again, and fell 
asleep for a short time. Then he got up, and 
lounged into Griselda's room. Lying on the 
table he found an account-book. He turned 
over the pages idly. It was not a strictly kept 
affair, but it conveyed considerable information 


to Mr Mortimer. Since the beginning of his 
reformation he had interfered but Httle in the 
management of the family purse. Such ac- 
counts as were kept at all were kept by Gris- 
elda. On the whole she managed well, con- 
sidering what her training had been ; but they 
lived improvidently, spending as fast as they 
obtained. Debt, it was Griselda's sincere 
desire to avoid, but she had no intense horror 
of it, having been early familiarised to a dis- 
proportion between expenditure and income. 
At this moment there were several debts 
against Mr Mortimer and his daughter in 
Florence. He had others in various places, of 
which Griselda knew nothing. She was not 
in the least uneasy about the money she owed. 
There was a bundle of bills, bearing various 
dates, tied together and pinned into the ac- 
count-book, with an annotation in Griselda's 
writing, which probably expressed no decided 
intention on her part — '* Ought to be settled 
by August." 

*' Pooh ! " said Mr Mortimer as he read it. 

After scrutinising the account-book for some 


time, he came to the conclusion that they had 
very Httle money in hands at present. It was 
to be hoped the child (who had provided her- 
self but scantily for her journey) would be 
economical, and not suddenly write to him, 
bidding him send her more money. 

He began to think it might be well to try 
and make a litde money. If he surprised 
Griselda on her return by a handful of gold ? 
His picture — he might finish it with a few 
days' work, and it would find easy sale just 
at present, for it contained a portrait of Gris- 
elda, the heroine of the day. But to spend 
the whole of to-morrow in his studio! He 
shrugged his shoulders and whistled a gay 
French air. There was a much easier way 
of getting money. Mr Mortimer had not 
gambled (to speak of) since he had been in 
Italy. Griselda had wiled him out of the 
dangerous habit ; but he was a gambler still 
in heart. His fingers itched to touch a pack 
of cards that had a purpose in it. But the 
child's pleading face rose before him ; he saw 
the anxiety in her soft eyes, and heard the 


sweet, cross words with which she had been 
used to remonstrate with him. He did not 
want to pain the Httle thing. 

But there was nothing on earth Mr Mor- 
timer cared to do to-night. He lounged at the 
window for some minutes. Night had fallen, 
and a pale moon was trying to shine through 
a haze of coming rain. A flickering lamp 
In the street below showed the passers-by — 
mostly strangers and uninteresting. Presently 
a man walked by the lamp. Mr Mortimer 
knew him : a rich man, a good companion, a 
careless, open-handed fellow, who threw his 
money about. He was always In luck that 
man ! Mr Mortimer guessed where he was 
going. There was no time to be lost In con- 
sideration. Griselda's father hastily provided 
himself with all the money he could find, and 
sallied forth Into the night. He hurried till he 
overtook his friend. They walked along arm 
in arm for some distance ; out of the town ; 
across the river, to an unpretentious -looking 
house, where a number of people were as- 
sembled and busily engaged in making or 


marring their fortunes. High play was the 
order of every night here. Mr Mortimer was 
soon at work : his friend played also. Mr 
Mortimer prospered : the friend left early, 
leaving Mr Mortimer money to play for him. 

Late — very late — William Mortimer set out 
to return home. He had won on the whole, 
was carrying home plenty of money, and had 
claims on various people in his pocket. More 
than half of all these winnings belonged to the 
friend. He had gone home safely enough with 
that claim ready to establish on the morrow. 

Mr Mortimer, confused perhaps by excite- 
ment and wine, missed his way. He found 
himself wandering alone by the Arno, hugging 
his money very closely, and swearing at the 
rain and the long walk through the darkness. 
Not a pleasant place he had got to at all : the 
path was muddy, and the river unpleasantly 
close. The pale moon had disappeared hours 



It was late when our travellers reached 
London. The dull, damp day was closing, 
and the lamps in the streets and in the station 
were already lighted. When the train rushed 
rapidly into the great city, shrieking and shak- 
ing, as if making its last effort In desperation, 
no golden sunset illumined the sky, causing 
the quiet Thames to flash responsive ; no 
glory lingered on the Victoria Tower, nor 
brightened the solemn gloom of Westminster. 
If there was neither rain nor fog, there was 
yet no sunshine nor evening gleam ; but every- 
where was a mournful stillness and waiting, as 
if a shadow had fallen on the vast city, and 
had hushed its breath with anxiety. 

So at least it seemed to Griselda Mortimer, 
as she gazed wistfully from the window of the 

.WRECKED. 219 

railway carriage on the houses and streets 
below. Possibly the other travellers did not 
feel the mournful hush. A party of children 
beside her were shoutino- and lauorhino^ with 
merriment as they recognised the various 
towers and spires that they knew. Their 
mother sat by and smiled, her hand resting 
in her husband's, and her loving eyes linger- 
ing by turns on the face of each eager speaker. 
They were going home ! and the soft air kissed 
them through the open window ; the rain had 
ceased hours ago, a little crescent moon had 
struggled out through the clouds, and the bells 
from a quiet church below the railway rang on 
their ears with a friendly carol, and mingled 
joyously with Big Ben's low voice, announcing 
that the evening had come. They were going 
home ! those happy parents, those joyous, ex- 
pectant children. When people love each 
other, to be going home Is very sweet, and the 
dullest landscape will brighten as they pass. 

Griselda was not going home : no loving 
eyes rested with a smile on her ; no friendly 
voice cheered her in her silent sorrow. 


The German waiting - woman was out of 
humour, and sat pale and rigid opposite to 
her mistress, secretly resolving that whether 
Fraulein Griselda chose to return on Friday 
or not, she herself would not be a day later 
in her homeward journey. 

Once, indeed, the gentle mother of the 
children, touched by Griselda's pale face, and 
the weary ring in her voice as she asked a 
question of the guard, had offered her a sand- 
wich from the bountiful supply of provisions 
which she carried for the children. Griselda, 
who was not hungry, declined it. Possibly 
she spoke with some abruptness, for her 
thoughts were far away ; possibly an instinc- 
tive fear of strangers made her shrink farther 
Into her corner, and look steadily out of the 
window. Yet she felt grateful for the little 
attention, and half hoped the quiet lady would 
speak to her again. But the experiment was 
not repeated ; and when they all left the train, 
and the silent girl disappeared in the crowd, 
the mother concentrated all her attention on 
her own little ones, and did not think of the 


youthful Stranger again for hours. But In the 
middle of the night she suddenly awoke from 
her sleep, and the plaintive shadowed face rose 
before her. She recalled the set mouth, the 
clasped hands, and the quiet air of resolve. 
She remembered that once the large eyes had 
filled with tears, which rolled unheeded down 
the little face; once the pale cheeks had burned 
with a quick, fierce glow that was evidently 
pain, but the slender hands had never relaxed 
their clasp, and the pressure at the corners of 
the fixed lips had intensified as the journey 
drew to its close. *' The child is in trouble," 
said the motherly heart. " I would help her 
if I could. God help her for me ! " 

It seemed a long time to the tired travellers 
ere they could leave the station. The noises 
around her were scarcely heard by Griselda ; 
they were not to her intelligible sounds : her 
soul was full of something else, and she could 
hardly rouse herself to attend to her luggage, 
and to give the necessary instructions to the 
cabman. No one noticed her much : her ap- 
pearance was not remarkable ; her low voice 


was distinct and clear ; she spoke and acted 
without hesitation. No one of all the bustling 
crowd heeded her preoccupation and dreami- 
ness ; no one knew that she was already under 
the shadow of her doom. 

'' 15 Great George Street," she said to the 
cabman ; and added to the unresponsive Luise, 
*' We will go to him first ; he will tell us where 
we had better stay." 

Griselda's courage was falling fast; and 
when they reached the door and descended 
from the vehicle, she could have cried from 
mere . childish fright. But she did not; she 
rang the bell firmly, and quietly spoke to a 
girl who answered It — a red-haired, rough- 
looking girl, who had evidently been crying. 
"Mr Lindsay, Miss?" she repeated, with a 
bewildered air. '* I — I don't know. I'll hask 
the missus." 

Griselda's heart sank ; but she stepped In- 
side and waited. Presently, a middle-aged wo- 
man, somewhat restless and anxious-looking, 
came hurriedly down the stairs, followed by the 
girl, whose apron was again pressed to her eyes. 


" I want Mr Lindsay," began Griselda, 
tremblingly ; but the woman interrupted — 

" Oh yes, Miss, it's quite right ; only Esther, 
she didn't know. Come in, and I'll get you a 
cup of tea before you go to him. I'm glad 
you're come. Miss. Mr Lindsay he's hasking 
for you ever so, and I was afraid as you 
couldn't come till to-morrow, being the time 
it was when I sent the telegraph. But them 
telegraphs is wonderful things for goin' quick 
sometimes, and at others you might as well 
save your elevenpence for all you gets by 
them. Esther, take the young lady's shawl 
and give her a chair, and the other young 
person one in the ^all." 

Griselda, bewildered, but satisfied that she 
had come to the right place and was w^anted, 
suffered Mrs Robinson to lead her into the 
parlour and divest her of her wraps, while the 
good woman volubly directed Esther to fetch 
some tea and a slice of cold mutton and a 

*' Dr ^Enslow will be ^ere again immediately, 
Miss. He said he'd come about h'eight, if we 


didn't send for him sooner, and I'm thankful to 
say, Miss, that ain't been necessary, for though 
he's bad enough, poor gentleman, he ain't no 
worse nor what he was at twelve o'clock when 
Dr 'Enslow was 'ere. But It's gone seven 
now a good bit, and he'll soon be coming. Up 
to time, Dr 'Enslow is generally, Miss ; but a 
doctor cant always hanswer to a minute. 
Don't take on now, Miss — don't. He'll be on 
the mend now you've come to him. Esther, 
is the tea ready ? " added Mrs Robinson, vio- 
lently, — for having just cautioned the young 
lady against " taking on," she could in no con- 
sistency do so herself But Griselda was per- 
fectly quiet and calm. Out of the woman's 
talk she had gathered one thing clearly : 
Ralph was ill. 

" I will go to him at once," said the young 
girl, rising ; but Mrs Robinson stopped her. 

" Wait a bit, Miss dear, do. A hempty 
stomach is the worst thing possible for a 
nurse. 'Ave a sup of tea and a hegg and 
some bread and butter. It's very good country 
butter we get from 'Oward In John Street. 


My brother-in-law, Miss, and a very good 
tradesman, and keeps up his connection with 
Barnet, where we come from, my sister and I 
and her 'usband. I'll sit with the poor gentle- 
man and tell him as you've come." 

" Oh, please don't leave him," said Griselda, 
rather faintly ; '' I will come up very soon. I 
want just to think for a minute," she added, 
dropping her head on her hand. 

She sat still, not heeding what passed 
around, but trying in this breathing-time to 
collect her strength. A very small child — 
Mrs Robinson's youngest — stood before Gris- 
elda some three yards off, regarding her 
steadily, and wondering what manner of woman 
she was who sat there so quietly, unmoved 
even by the entrance of Esther and the 
" hegg." Luise was much more intelligible to 
this little man, for though he could understand 
no word of her grumbling soliloquy, he ob- 
served that she moved about, and tidied the 
shawls, and cast interested glances at the loaf 
and the glass dish containing the country 
butter. There was something rational about 

VOL. II. p 


Luise ; but the motionless figure in the corner, 
with white, clasped hands, and steadfast, far- 
away eyes — what was it ? A wax figure ? such 
as little Tommy had seen yesterday at Madame 
Tussaud's wonderful house ? He had almost 
made up his little mind to touch those shining 
fingers and find out what they were made of, 
when Griselda frightened him by rising sud- 
denly and taking a chair at the table before 
the tea-tray. 

A bright flush of hope had spread over her 
face, and she trembled with a new emotion. 
She felt cheered. Ralph, dear Ralph, was ill ; 
but not very ill. This kind, honest woman 
had said he was not getting worse ; and, sad as 
it was, it made everything easier. She was 
here to nurse him and to take care of him. 
She would take her place by the bedside, and 
he would be glad to have her. Already she 
seemed to feel his gentle, reproachful eyes 
looking at her as she drew near, and she saw 
the love-light rise in them as she knelt before 
him, contrite and sad. He would take her 
hand and press the kiss of forgiveness upon it, 


while his tender eyes still watched her. They 
would say nothing — it was not the time for 
words ; but her tears would fall on his aching 
brow, and Ralph would understand. When 
he was better and they could talk it over, the 
reconciliation would have been effected, and 
the old love and trust would have returned 
for ever. 

Ralph would not refuse to touch her lips, 
would he, because — her head dropped into 
her hands under the stinorinor shame of the 

o o 

recollection — another's kiss had been pressed 
there ? He had seen it. Misery ! No for- 
giveness could quench that. Down in the dust, 
frail girl ; expect nothing : no penitence could 
be too humble; there could be no reconcilia- 
tion of which you were deserving. But yet — 
yet — Ralph loved her ; and she would give 
her life to serve him ! And perhaps it was 
best that he knew all. Oh, to be with him ! 

Griselda swallowed half a piece of dry toast, 
and a cup of scalding tea. Then she summoned 
Mrs Robinson and followed her up-stairs. 

At the door of the sick-chamber she sent 


the honest landlady away, and Mrs Robinson 
descended to her children, saying to the red- 
haired maid — 

*' I didn't think as how Miss Lindsay would 
have been such a child, Esther. And what 
does she bring that plaguy furrin' creatur' for, 
with her stupid h'airs ? " 

Luise remained In the parlour in high 
dudgeon, determining to start for Germany 
to-morrow. The forgotten cabman, puzzled 
by the delay about the luggage, had gone to 
a neighbouring beer-shop. Just then came a 
low ring at the door. Esther opened it : she 
was crying again, poor kind-hearted girl, un- 
used to trouble. 

A tall figure was waiting outside, a hag- 
gard face looked down at Esther, and from 
stiff, twitching lips came the question, " How 
is he to-night ? " 

" Bad, sir — very bad. We expect the doctor 
again now, sir, In half an hour. Oh dear, oh 
me, sir! I can't help crying and taking on. 
And it worrits the missus, it does, sir. Oh 


The girl felt her hand squeezed for a mo- 
ment, then the Inquirer turned away, out into 
the darkness — alone. . . . 

Griselda is still standing outside Ralph's 
door, her finger on her lip. She is listening 
to him, as he talks in a low tone to himself. 
The door is ajar : she can see him lying, pale 
and helpless ; the thin hand outside the cover- 
let is listlessly beating up and down ; the 
gentle, patient eyes are bright but vacant. 
Griselda trembles still as she watches and 
listens, but her eyes are full of tears. 

" I want her,'^ murmurs the low voice from 
the bed. 

Griselda enters softly, but with noise enough 
to avoid startlinor him. He moves a little and 
looks at her. 

She comes over swiftly with eager smile ; 
she kneels beside him, laying her left hand 
caressingly in his, and putting her right arm 
under his head. 

" Ralph, dear Ralph !" she whispers ; " I am 

All the affection and tenderness of old times 


have surged up in Griselda s heart, and she 
parts the hair on his forehead and kisses his 
burning brow, as he looks at her wonderingly, 
with strange, puzzled eyes. 

*' Janet, I want to give you a message," 
says poor Ralph, presently. 


'' I AM not Janet," said Grlselda, softly, but 
with a tinge of impatience. She remembered 
now the landlady's mistake, and felt vexed 
that it had been communicated to Ralph. 
'' Don't you know me, dear ? " she went on, 
stroking his hair with one hand. " I am 

The poor, puzzled eyes still regarded her 
wistfully. " Griselda," he repeated, vaguely — 
'' Griselda." 

'' Have you forgotten Griselda ? " she whis- 
pered, with a smile and a tender sparkle in 
her eyes. Yes, it was sad ; but it was easier 
to bear than what she had expected. She 
could suffer all this and be helpful and strong. 

"No, I have not forgotten,' ' said Ralph, 
wearily. '' I want to send her a message." 


'' Yes, dear : what ? tell me," replied Grls- 
elda, gently; but he said no more, and his 
head rolled restlessly to one side. Griselda 
rose to her feet. She began to realise her 
position as nurse, and to take steps accord- 
ingly. She opened the window at the top, 
letting a pleasant coolness fan the fevered 
head. Then she stirred the fire gently, but 
with the quiet firmness invaluable in a sick- 
room, which causes no doubt in the patient's 
mind as to what is taking place. A few more 
little services skilfully performed, and then 
she sat down again by his side and watched 
him. Ralph's eyes had followed her about, a 
wondering content shining in them that was 
not yet recognition. Perhaps, poor fellow, his 
spirit knew her, though his mind did not. 
Griselda sat by his side without speaking. 
Once he said, brokenly — 

'* Janet, will you remember it ? " but she did 
not answer. It was a little hard to have come 
so far and then to be called *' Janet." 

He did not speak again, but lay still with 
his eyes generally shut, but sometimes open 


and fixed on her, as if he were trying to col- 
lect his scattered thoughts. She had always 
a smile ready for him, and when he seemed 
restless, her hand laid on his calmed him at 
once. Nearly an hour passed. The house- 
hold sounds were hushed ; Lulse had fallen 
asleep in the parlour ; Mrs Robinson was busy 
putting her children to bed. The waiting- 
time was dreary to Griselda. Her heart was 
again filling with anxiety and sorrow. Pres- 
ently a carriage dashed up the street, but 
stopped a few doors off. Dr Henslow issued 
from it and walked to the house rapidly. He 
was an elderly man, short and square, with 
bald head, and quick, imperative voice. He 
rang the bell. Just then a policeman tapped 
him on the arm. 

'' This your cab, sir ? " 

" No, no," said the doctor, impatiently, and 
was passing on, for Esther had opened the door. 

" La bless us ! " cried the maid, " the young 
lady's been and left all her things in the cab, 
and she 'ere this two hours, and the cabby 
gone, goodness knows where ! " 


'' La, poor dear ! " echoed Mrs Robinson, 

'' Mrs Robinson, who is with the patient ? " 
said Dr Henslow, severely. " The nurse is not 
here yet, is she ? I told you not to leave 

'' His sister is come, sir, if you please, 
and " said the landlady. 

'' What about this 'ere cab ? " interrupted 
the policeman. *'The street mustn't be blocked 
up with cabs adoing of nothing." 

" See to it, Mrs Robinson, will you ? " said 
Dr Henslow; **and remember — quietly." 

He pushed past the little group, now aug- 
mented by Luise and three small children. 

'' His sister — hum," soliloquised the doctor. 
** Well, it's a good thing he has some one with 
him, poor fellow. Some experience, I hope, 
though it's not likely to be a long case. 
Nice lad too : it's a pity. If the woman had 
sent for me sooner now " 

He tapped at the door, but receiving no 
answer, opened it and entered. The conver- 
sation below had startled Ralph, and as Dr 


Henslow came in, he was sitting up with a 
wilder look on his face than it had yet worn. 
He was speaking loudly and incoherently. 

" Janet, be silent ! I will not have it said. 
Let me alone. Have you no feeling, Janet ? 
Have no women " 

Griselda, standing beside him, tried to soothe 
him with her gentle touch and low voice, but 
a little fright had arisen in her heart, and she 
felt some relief in seeing the doctor. He 
started on perceiving her. It was not the 
figure he had expected to see as poor Lind- 
say's sister. Griselda might have been a 
Santa Filomena as she stood there, quiet and 
gentle, in her closely-clinging soft raiment, 
her golden hair seemingly bearing a halo be- 
neath the shaded rays from the lamp. How 
appearances belie us ! She looked like a figure 
in a medieval picture; she was a weary, travel- 
worn, self-reproachful woman of the nineteenth 
century. Dr Henslow was not prone to senti- 
ment. After a moment's surprise, he came for- 
ward, accepting matters as they were. Ralph's 
strength suddenly gave way, and he sank back 


with closed eyes. Griselda moved a little 
aside without speaking, and the doctor took 
the sick man's hand and felt his pulse. 

*' The mind still wanders ? " said Dr Hens- 
low, addressing the young girl. 

'' Yes," answered Griselda. She watched 
the doctors face intently, her colour chang- 
ing fast. He did not notice her much just 

'* Yet the fever is not high," pursued Dr 
Henslow, meditatively. She did not speak, 
did not ask if this were a good or a bad sign. 
She moved back a little and stood by the fire. 
Presently the doctor joined her. 

'' I am glad to find you here, Miss Lindsay," 
he began, gravely. 

" I am not Miss Lindsay," said Griselda, 
quickly. The mistake vexed her. 

" No ? " said Dr Henslow, perplexed. " Mrs 
Robinson said, * his sister.' " 

" I am not his sister. I am going to marry 
him. My name is Griselda Mortimer." 

The name caught Ralph's ear. He roused 
himself and said clearly — 


" Griselda ? Yes, that was It. I trust you 
will remember." 

The anxious voice brought her to his 

" Yes, dear — yes ; I will," she said, tenderly. 

" The message," he went on. " Let me hear 
now if you remember it." 

Griselda was mute. The message had not 
been told her yet. 

*' Let us hear it now, my good fellow," said 
Dr Henslow, humouring him, " then there 
will be no mistake about it." 

''Janet knows. I told Janet," said Ralph, 
wearily. " My sister here, sir; Miss Lindsay." 

" No, no," she whispered. '' Griselda." 

'' I should like Griselda to know," muttered 
Ralph, '' how much I thought of her. She 
may be sorry then. I trusted her : she de- 
ceived me : she broke my heart." 

He ceased speaking and closed his eyes 
with a hopelessness only too evident. The 
doctor, a rough but kind-hearted man, watched 
him sadly. Then he turned abruptly to Gris- 
elda. Her eyes were lifted to his ; she was 


not crying as he had hoped. Her expression 
was almost stony, for her heart had suddenly 
frozen and all her peace and hope were gone. 
Dr Henslow felt angry. He was an unimagin- 
ative man, and did not perceive the sorrow of 
which there was no outward manifestation. If 
she had any feeling, those words from the poor 
distraught lad would have brought the tears 
to her eyes. She was a bad girl. 

" Come here," he said sharply, though 
scarcely above a whisper. She followed him 
to the window, and stood there looking at 
him, pale but calm, her hands tightly clasped. 

'' Miss Mortimer," he said, feeling it his 
duty to admonish her, *' I do not, of course, 
know the circumstances of the case, but from 
what I have heard my poor young friend say 
now, and this morning, I feel no doubt that 
it is your conduct which has brought him to 
the condition he is in. Whether your coming 
now is of the slightest use or not, I am unable 
to say." 

Griselda did not avert her eyes. 

'' When will he be better ? " she asked. 


" I cannot say if he will be better," said Dr 
Henslow, disofusted with her indifference. He 
turned away after another compassionate study 
of the young man, saying in the same severe 
tone, '' I shall leave my orders with Mrs 

Griselda sat down in a chair near the fire, 
resting her head on her hand. There was a 
certain dejection in her attitude that dimly 
impressed the doctor. He added, somewhat 
more gently, " You are too young to have 
charge here." 

As he went down the stairs, he muttered to 
himself — 

" A little harsh, perhaps, but not too strong. 
Do her good, little traitress. Poor lad — poor 
lad ! " 

Griselda did not move ; Ralph lay still, and 
there was nothing for her to do. She was 
perfectly quiet. The doctor's words had not 
affected her much : they were but the seal to 
the misery that had suddenly written itself on 
her heart. 

Mrs Robinson came in presently, and tried 


to resume her post by the sick man's side, but 
Griselda sent her away. 

'' This is my place," she said ; " I am going 
to stay. I know a great deal about illness. 
Tell me what the doctor said and ordered.'^ 

The good woman hesitated, but the quiet 
firmness with which the young girl spoke was 
too much for her. She was tired, poor hard- 
working woman, after her watch of the night 
before ; and with some reluctance, and a few 
exclamations, such as — " Lord bless you, Miss! 
and you not his sister neither ! " she consented 
to leave the patient to Griselda. 

Soon every one in the house was in bed, 
except this poor girl with her load of sorrow. 
She sat by the fire, at a little distance from 
Ralph, where she could watch him. He was 
very quiet now : he did not appear to need 
her by his side. 

It seemed to Griselda that hours passed 
before Ralph moved again. The perfect still- 
ness became oppressive. The sufferer lay 
silent and almost motionless ; now and then 
his head rolled for an instant restlessly, or 


he beckoned and pointed with one hand into 
vacancy. The still figure, with its occasional 
meaningless gestures, was ghastly in the dim 
light, and exercised a terrible fascination for 
the desolate girl watching it. 

The house was perfectly silent, and no 
sound rose from the quiet street ; or if it did, 
her listless ears perceived it not. Save once ; 
a vehicle rattled noisily by and struck terror 
into Griselda's heart. Her excited nerves con- 
veyed no intelligible cause of alarm to her 
brain, but she shook from head to foot. A 
slight movement of her patient restored her 
to herself She almost hoped he would sit up 
and need her ; but no, he lay still again, and 
her silent watch continued as before. 

It was an awful night. 

The hurried journey after the unusual ex- 
citement and exaltation ; the weariness ; her 
sinking spirits ; the shock of finding Ralph's 
condition ; the weakness from want of food ; 
the doctor's harsh words, and Ralph's re- 
proachful ones, — all combined to rob her of 
her little strength : the utter desolation of her 



position ; her loneliness, silence, despair ; the 
half fear of poor Ralph that, with all her 
vaunted experience in nursing, she could not 
repress ; her dreadful helplessness alone in 
this sleeping house, with only that poor cloud- 
ed mind for a companion,- — it was no wonder 
that the young girl's nerves were too severely 

As the minutes slowly passed, and the great 
clocks of the sleeping city tolled the hours, her 
courage ebbed by degrees, and left her ener- 
vated by fear and agony. The sound of her own 
breathing became almost unbearable ; Ralph's 
occasional movements were horrible : she dared 
not move her eyes to the half-lighted corners 
of the room. What if she saw some unex- 
pected, silent shape bearing her company ? 
If she should glance at the chair by the win- 
dow and see Philip Temple seated there calmly 
reading ? or her father with a pack of cards, 
playing noiselessly with an invisible partner ? 
What if Ralph suddenly appeared to her eyes 
as an old man, with long white beard and 
wild blue eyes ? She dared not stir nor move 


her eyes ; her breath came In quick, short 
gasps, and her damp, trembling fingers clutched 
each other convulsively. How long she bore 
this horror she could not tell. It came to an 
end with a sudden movement of Ralph's, fol- 
lowed by his voice calling her. 

" Janet." 

Griselda was by his side in a moment, 
all fear of spectres vanished In the relief of 

" I am here, Ralph," she answered, softly. 

" You told me the truth, Janet ; you told 
me the truth. She never loved me. I should 
not have urged her to it. Poor child ! " 

" You would forgive her, Ralph ?'' 

" I offered her to him long ago, Janet. If 
they had wished It they might have married 
then. I should have been glad. I loved 
them both. He preferred stealing her. Don't 
call me a fool, Janet," he added, impatiently ; 
'* one does not expect to find the people one 
loves, deceivers." 

" Ralph, Ralph ! we did not mean it ! " 

"Would you not have me trust jk^^^, Janet ? 


And I loved her, I loved him, more than I 
love you. Could I know they were false ? 
Never mind about him. I will not try to 
forgive him." 

" Ralph, Ralph ! we repented ; we gave 
each other up. You are thinking what Is not 
true!" moaned Griselda ; but the feeble con- 
tradiction excited him. 

" How dare you say it is not true, Janet ? 
By Heaven It Is true ! I saw them ! I told 
her so ! My darling, my darling ! I loved 
her ! Tell her I tried to forgive her at the 
last. I can't think of him ! " 

" Yes, Ralph, yes ; forgive him. Never 
mind her. Forgive him." 

"Forgive him? forgive him, Janet .^" He 

Griselda wept bitterly. Presently Ralph 
said — 

" Janet, speak to me — say something." 

She roused herself with a great effort. 

*' Ralph, you used to trust In Jesus Christ," 
she moaned ; what could she say to him about 
herself ? 


" I will trust no one now." 

*' But God would not fail you, Ralph." 

" I have lost Him. Janet, there was a 
storm one night : that was why Griselda 
deceived me. There was lightning : that 
proved it. You know lightning is a proof. 
God never came back — nor she." 

His voice had orrown low and indistinct, 
and now he lay still once more. Griselda 
could not bear it. She thought of ringing, or 
of calling for assistance, but had not resolution 
to do so. She went to the darkened window 
and looked out. Neither moon nor stars re- 
turned her gaze with a smile of companion- 
ship. The lamps below flickered, and seemed 
to yield no light. No breath of wind nor 
sound of life greeted her. She was alone in 
a world that had become to her a solitude of 
misery, enclosed in a darkness that could be 
felt. Several minutes passed, and she still 
gazed out into the silent city. Then a noise 
smote on her ear. Two drunken men passed 
down the street. Their unsteady footfall 
echoed from the pavement, and they roared 


and shouted a discordant song. The desolate 
girl shivered, and the old horror of the night 
was returning. A sound behind startled her. 
She turned. Ralph was sitting up, a fierce 
glare in his eyes, and one arm pointed at her, 
as he laughed wildly. Beside herself with 
terror, Griselda flew to his side. Poor Ralph ! 
he fell back exhausted, and for a moment she 
thought he was dying. Then as her fear sub- 
sided somewhat, she knelt beside him, strok- 
ing his hair and kissing his feeble hands. 
Gradually the wild light died from his eyes, 
and the panting breath came more gently. 
Her soft touch soothed him, and presently the 
quiet weakness returned in which he had lain 
so long. 

His hands began to stray over Griselda's 
hair. She loosened the long curls and bent 
her head. It seemed to please him, and the 
feeble touch brought a softening breath to the 
girl's frozen heart. Tears filled her eyes as 
he said, slowly — 

'' You used not to have such pretty hair, 


" Does it remind you of Griselda ? " she 

" Griselda had pretty hair," answered Ralph, 
dreamily ; '' soft and long like this. Hers 
shone like gold." 

" This shines in the sunlight," said Griselda. 

" The sun has gone out," answered Ralph, 

She wrung her hands, making no reply. 
She had darkened the world for him. He 
still played with her rich tresses, and pres- 
ently he said — 

" Give her my Bible." 

" Would you forgive her," said Griselda, 
despairingly, " if she came to you ? Ralph, 
tell me." 

** She would not come," said Ralph, with a 
sort of cry. '' I called her. She loved the 
other. Give him the picture." He pointed 
to a little table on which lay a drawing she 
had not noticed. It was turned face down- 
wards, and Philip's name was written on the 
back in large, wild writing. Poor Ralph's mind 
had been wandering when he had written it. 


'' O Ralph, forgive her ! She did not mean 
it. Her heart is broken. Ralph, Ralph ! if 
she came and told you her heart was broken, 
you would forgive her then, Ralph ? You 
loved her ! " 

" I always loved her. She did not care." 

*' She does care," moaned Griselda. " I 
don't care for anything else. Ralph, Ralph ! 
don't you know me ? Griselda is with you. 
She is come. She is here. She wants to be 
forgiven 1 " 

" Too late," muttered Ralph. " She is away 
in the sunshine. It is dark here, Janet. There 
is no sun here. Everything is dark. She is 
away. She will be sorry, I daresay, when she 
hears how the sun went out." 

" Oh, why doesn't he know me ? " cried 
Griselda in her anguish. *' He understands 
some of what I say ! O Ralph, Ralph, I am 
punished, and my punishment Is greater than 
I can bear ! " 

No reply; but his hand rested caressingly 
on the bowed head, and clasped one silken 
curl more and more tightly as he sank grad- 


ually Into a gentle sleep. Scarcely knowing 
what she did, Griselda had begun to sing, and 
her sweet low tones had hushed him to rest. 
It was some time ere she ventured to stop 
singing, fearing that the silence might waken 
him ; but at last a choking sob stopped her In 
the middle of a bar. 

But the sob was caused by a new hope. 
This calm face and regular breathing were 
different from the heavy stupor of an hour 
ago. " If he sleep he will do well," has been 
the cry of many an anxious watcher since the 
disciples' time. Griselda feared to disturb 
him by moving, and she knelt with difficulty 
where she was, Ralph's unconscious hand 
clasping her golden hair. 

At last, poor child, she must have slept her- 
self, for a sudden awaking came to her, after 
what seemed a long period without conscious 
thought. The lamp had gone out, and the 
paleness of early dawn had taken its place. 
She w^as stiff and almost giddy; for several 
moments she could not collect her thouQ^hts. 
She stared unmeaningly at a little fern in a 


pot on the table near her, and her brain busied 
itself in seeking the connection between It and 
a pair of scissors beside It. Then remembrance 
burst upon her, and she raised her head to 
look at Ralph. 

He was still asleep, and she fancied he 
looked better. Quiet and peaceful he was ; 
and with hope wildly beating in her breast, 
she watched the regular rise and fall of his 
chest, as he breathed without perceptible 
effort. He still held her a prisoner by her 
hair ; but she contrived to change her position 
sufficiently to enable her to watch him with- 
out discomfort. 

Gradually the morning rose. Griselda shiv- 
ered with cold, but her worst agony seemed 
past. There Is companionship In daylight ; 
and though the street was still very quiet, it 
was not with the awful silence of midnight. 
And Ralph was so still, and his touch was 
surely the pressure of returning affection. 
Griselda waited without moving, while the 
dawning brought object after object clearly 
before her eyes. She feared his waking, yet 


longed for It. Perhaps he would know and 
forgive her then. 

At length he stirred. He did not release 
her, but he opened his eyes, and then brought 
his free hand to his forehead. Griselda held 
her breath and said no word, only watched 
him with dilated eyes and beating heart. He 
turned his head and looked at her — one long, 
troubled gaze — then a feeble smile, and a 
word trembling on his lips, for which he 
could find no voice. 

Was it recoo^nltlon and fororiveness ? Gris- 
elda never knew. A slight, short spasm, and 
then a quiet closing of the darkening eyes, a 
few gasping breaths, and then stillness and 
silence. The clouded spirit had gone to 
unveiled light. The loving, troubled heart 
had ceased its struggle for evermore in this 
world. When all was ended, Griselda sank 
on the floor beside him with an exceeding 
bitter cry. ^ 



Philip Temple rose at four o'clock after a 
sleepless night. Esther's sobs and sad tidings 
had rung in his ears all through the long 
weary hours. Every now and then Ralph's 
face rose before him — sometimes pale and sad, 
sometimes bitter and reproachful in its ex- 
pression. The longing to see him became 
overpowering. Ralph was ill and alone. 
Esther had said in the morninof that Mr 
Lindsay's sister had been summoned ; but 
she could not come before the next day. 
How was Ralph spending the night ? Sick, 
miserable, alone ; for what was the company 
of two ignorant womejti to an invalid with a 
breaking heart ? 

'* O Griselda, come to him ! " groaned the 
young man. ''Why did I not write more 


Strongly ? I will send her a telegram. I will 
go for her. Fool ! " 

Who was Ralph's sister ? Would he care 
about her ? Would she understand him, and 
not tease him with questions ? 

" Good God ! " said Philip, " why am I not 
with him ? Why have I treated him so, that 
I dare not go near him even to help ? Why 
did I go to Florence ? Why did I see her ? 
Good God ! have I treated my friend so ? 
What vow shall I make to bribe Heaven for 
their happiness ? — a monastery — a hair-shirt 
— St Simon Stylite's pillar? It is all too 
easy. Discomfort will be welcome, and what 
is welcome will not do. Why is Elijah not 
here, or some one whose prayers would be an- 
swered ? I cannot pray. I have never prayed. 
I cannot pray for the first time now, because 
trouble has fallen upon me. Save them, save 
them, God of my father and my mother, whom 
I do not know ! " 

Before the first streak of dawn he rose and 
went out into the street. He could not stay 
within. Haggard, with sunken eyes and white 


lips, you would scarcely have recognised him. 
He wandered through the still darkened city 
like some uneasy spirit. From one of the 
bridges he watched the dawn rising gradually. 
Then he turned and strode rapidly towards 
the house where Ralph dwelt. It was past 
six o'clock ; the lamps were sickly now in the 
faint, coming sunlight. The milkmen were 
going their rounds. The morning cabs were 
preparing for their day's work. 

Philip paused before a coffee-stall ; his knees 
were trembling, and he felt faint and unsteady. 
A desperate longing for spirits or for opium 
had come over him, and he hailed the humble 
coffee-stall as a godsend. Two or three rough 
workmen had been buying a breakfast from a 
sour-faced old woman, who, aided by a little 
girl, was dealing out the steaming liquid. The 
other customers slunk off as this tall, sombre 
man strode up and laid a shilling down with- 
out a word. 

The woman eyed him sharply. 

" You Ve been up all night, young man," she 
said, as she pushed a cup towards him. 


'' Not I," said Philip. '' I lie on a bed of 
down." He smiled grimly as he spoke on 
the little girl. She was one of those preco- 
cious, sharp, London children, who appear so 
disagreeable to unaccustomed persons. But 
Philip, in his Whitechapel experiences, had 
become acquainted with many such, and he 
liked cultivating their friendship. She looked 
curiously at him. 

" I wouldn't get up so early then, if I was 
you," she said, contemptuously. *' You have 
no work." 

*' Haven't I ? What a pity ! But if the 
down had pins in it, little girl ? " 

" Pins ? " 

" Sticking into you. Mine has." 

She looked up incredulously. " Get along," 
said the child, despising him. 

** I put them in myself," continued Philip, set- 
ting the coffee down, for it was not, to say the 
truth, very nice, and the momentary morbid 
appetite was gone. '' Bought a whole sheaf of 
them, and planted them carefully where they 
would prick most. I should have done better 


to have kept the gold I paid for them, should 
I not?" 

*' What was the pins ? " asked the child, per- 
ceiving that he talked metaphorically. 

'' Ah ! what were they ? There was a man 
once, who was walking on a long journey, and 
he put peas in his shoes before he started." 

" Peas ? " said the girl, glancing down at her 
own ragged boots. 

" Hard peas. The odd thing was that he 
liked them. There was another man who 
started with him in the same fashion, but he 
boiled his peas. I wonder which travelled 

'' Not much use if they was boiled," said 
the girl. 

*' Not any use, I think. It was a humbug, 
wasn't it ? But I wonder which travelled 

" Ye can't boil yer pins," said the child. 

'' No, indeed; I can't boil my pins," answered 

*' You're a preacher, ain't you ? " 

"I? No. Why?" 


" There's a preaching gent talks to me some- 
times. He begins Hke you do, saying what 
he don't mean, and then he goes on to 'splain 
what he do mean." 

*' I don't think I am Hke the preacher," said 

'' D'ye want yer change ? " cried the old 
woman, who regarded him with great con- 
tempt, and had pushed the coins at him 
some time ago. 

'' No ; you can give Susan some coffee 
with it." 

'' Susan has the leavings of the cups." 

*' Not very nice, is it ? " 

" Yes, if they all left as much as you done," 
cried Susan. 

Philip went on, wondering at himself, and 
thinking that the primitive breakfast had done 
him good. Susan remained by the coffee-stall, 
and teased her grandmother several times dur- 
ing the day by questions about the preaching 
gent and his pins and peas. Next morning 
she looked out for the strange preacher, but 
he never came again. 



In this great London of ours how seldom 
we see a stranger twice! I wonder If this 
fact widens or narrows our sympathies ? If 
the coffee-stall had stood In the High Street 
of a small country town, Philip might have 
known that little Susan was run over by an 
omnibus on the morrow of the day when he 
had given her the coffee. She was taken to 
a hospital, where she died after undergoing 
a painful operation. Poor little Susan! He 
had scarcely thought of her. She thought 
often of him, little lonely girl, to whom so 
few persons had ever spoken except In rough 
tones ! She wondered what he was doing. 
She little knew ! 

Through the dreary, awakening streets 
Philip plodded his way. It was half-past six : 
Esther was up. She was busy washing the 
steps. So was the girl next door, but she 
had begun sooner. When her job was done 
she called Esther in for a gossip about the 
poor sick gentleman. It was a cold morning : 
the girls stepped into Mrs Brown's hall, and 
closed the door to keep out the bitter, easterly 


Wind. As Philip reached Mrs Robinson's, he 
found the wet steps with the brush and the 
pumice - stone, but the washer gone and the 
hall-door open. 

He stepped inside and waited. How still 
the house was ! How dreary was the semi- 
darkness and the biting wind ! He ascended 
the stairs softly, and scarcely knowing why. 
He knew Ralph's room. Oh, if it might be 
suffered him to enter ! Half-way up, he fan- 
cied he heard a cry. His heart stood still, 
and he paused to listen. It was not repeated. 
There was no sound in the house. He went 
on, and stopped outside Ralph's door. 

It was closed; not shut. Philip listened — 
listened. No sound — no token of life, of 
attention, of anxiety. He pushed the door 
very gently, and looked through the aperture, 
hiding himself What made him start and 
flush, then cry inwardly, " Thank God ! thank 
God ! " 

He could see Ralph lying still — sleeping 
apparently, but peacefully. His hand rested 
outside the coverlet, holding something; a 


figure knelt beside him, with bowed head. 
Philip could not see the face, but he knew 
that figure — knew the wealth of hair which 
the sick man's hand was clasping. Griselda 
was with him. Thank God ! thank God ! 

Philip stood still, waiting. Presently another 
sudden flush came and went on his cheek, and 
his heart beat again with violence. 

The figure on the bed was not only still, but 
rigid : the white face was ghastly ; the hand 
was stiff and heavy. No faint movement of 
the chest showed signs of breathing and life. 
Ralph was dead ; and beside him knelt Gris- 

Philip came in : he could not leave her alone 
in her woe. He walked past her and stood 
before the empty grate, looking at her and 
him. Griselda raised her head and saw him. 
She did not start ; she returned his gaze 
silently. But what a face was it that she 
had raised ! It was as white, as rigid, as 
ghastly as Ralph's own. It might have been 
a dead face, the more terrible because still 
capable of movement. Her stiff lips moved, 


but no sound came from them. She tried to 
rise, but she was still a prisoner, and she sank 
back. With a white, stiff finger she pointed 
to the scissors lying on the table by the fern. 
Philip understood her. He approached and 
severed the shining locks from her bended 
head. He cut fiercely and swiftly : who has 
not felt the dreary delight of sacrificing some- 
thing in a moment of anguish ? It was a relief 
to both. The task done, Philip stepped back 
to his former position, and with folded arms 
and set mouth watched her. The veins were 
standing out on his forehead, and his sunken 
eyes gleamed. 

Griselda rose and stood at the foot of the 
bed, leaning against it for support. Neither 
of them had spoken yet. She brought her 
hand to her forehead, and stood so, looking 
at him — a beautiful, corpse-like figure, trem- 
bling violently. And Ralph lay still and 
peaceful, his hand clutching its golden treas- 
ure. Through the open door a wind entered, 
blowing: Griselda's short wild locks over her 
brow, and reviving Philip, who had felt sick 


with misery. A paper on the Httle table fell 
rustling to the ground, and lay at Philip's feet. 
It was the drawing Ralph had spoken of in 
his delirium. Philip saw his name upon it, 
in the same large writing that had written in 
Florence on his unfinished letter. He saw his 
name, and stooping, took the picture in his 
hand. Below his name was written, ** You 
have deceived and betrayed us both. For 
you there is no forgiveness. May you re- 
member the past. Keep this." 

Philip turned it. On the other side was the 
picture of Henry's deathbed in the prison. 
He had seen it before, and Ralph had refused 
to explain to him what was the last word that 
the dying lad had started up to utter. It was 
written below the picture now — '' Traitor." 

Philip laid it down, and for an instant buried 
his face in his hands. Remember the past ? 
Was it a curse ? and was the curse bringing its 
fulfilment already ? Fast and thick, memories 
came trooping before him, till his brain reeled, 
though consciousness of the present did not 
one whit abate its horror. He spread out his 


hands as if imploring pity, then dropped his 
head on them with a low groan, wrenched from 
him by unutterable anguish. Griselda looked 
at the picture too. It was less intelligible to 
her ; but she read the bitter words, and looking 
at the silent figure on the couch, remembered 
that Ralph had neither known nor forgiven 
her. She held the picture out to Philip. 

'' It is yours. Take it. I, too, have bitter 
words and pictures for a legacy." 

Was that hollow voice Griselda's ? 

Philip raised his head, and took the paper 

*' Go," said Griselda. *' There is no place 
for you here." 

" There is no place for me here," echoed 
Philip. *'We shall never meet again, Gris- 

He went down the stairs, having closed 
the door on the dead man and the desolate 
watcher. He went out again into the streets ; 
and when Esther returned to the steps, she 
knew not that any one had crossed them. 


For it is only at the theatre that the height of the tragedy 
brings the close of the play. In reality we still live on ; and 
after the tragedy generally comes the commonplace. 


"If you please, sir, what are we to do with 
the young lady ? " 

The speaker was Mrs Robinson, who, with 
her handkerchief pressed to her eyes, was 
describino; to Dr Henslow all she knew of 
poor Ralph Lindsay's death. She had three 
listeners ; the doctor, Miss Lindsay — who had 
lately arrived, and who was much upset by 
the news Esther had abruptly announced to 
her — and Philip Temple. Two hours after he 
had left Griselda, Philip returned restlessly to 
the house, asking for tidings. He found Mrs 
Robinson and Esther too much shocked by 
the, to them, unexpected death of the lodger, 
to be able to do anything but sob hysterically, 
and was obliged to take matters into his own 


hand ; without asking for Griselda or looking 
at Ralph, he went himself for Dr Henslow. 
In about ten minutes they returned together. 
It was then that Mrs Robinson asked, " What 
are we to do with the young lady. If you 
please, sir ? " 

Miss Lindsay raised her head. 

'' What do you mean ? " she asked, with 
asperity, apparently wondering at the Intro- 
duction of an irrelevant topic. 

** Ah ! " said Dr Henslow in a tone of In- 
quiry, moving on towards the stair, and cast- 
ing furtive glances at Philip's stony, unnatural 

" I never see no one take on like she do," 
said Mrs Robinson ; and Esther exclaimed at 
the same time — 

'* I do believe she's a-dying — that I do ! " 

" Would to God It were so ! " murmured 

The doctor caught the words, and looked 
again curiously at the speaker. Philip felt the 
gaze and withdrew from It haughtily. 

'' Who is that young man ? " asked Dr 


Henslow of Miss Lindsay, as he closed the 
parlour door on Philip. 

*' The landlady says he was a friend of my 
poor brother's. I have never seen him be- 
fore," said Janet. " This way, doctor," she 
added, turning towards Ralph's chamber ; but 
Dr Henslow did not heed her. 

" Where is she, Mrs Robinson, if you 
please ? " he said. 

In a room up-stairs they gathered around 
Griselda's unconscious form. Luise sat on 
the floor with the poor child's head on her 
lap. She was doing her best with smelling- 
salts and other restoratives ; but Griselda lay 
motionless, her face white as ashes. 

" Dear, dear ! " said the doctor, kneeling 
down and laying his hand on her heart. 

There was silence for several minutes. 
Terribly death-like was the unconscious girl's 
appearance, and the doctor's action was sug- 
gestive. However, he rose presently and 
opened the window, then measured some 
drops from a phial. 

'' Stand a little aside, if you please," he said, 


authoritatively. " Esther, take Miss Lindsay 
down and give her some breakfast, and shut 
the door." 

He then applied strong remedies to Gris- 
elda, and presently her head moved slightly, 
and her eyes opened. 

" Here, my dear," said the doctor. " You 
are better now. Drink this." 

" Don't try to make me well," murmured 
Griselda, scarcely audibly. '' Let me go — to 
him," she gasped ; and then her eyes closed 
again, and the faint colour fled from her cheeks 
and lips. She lay as before, motionless and 

'' Dear, dear ! " repeated the doctor ; and 
Mrs Robinson exclaimed — 

** Well, I never ! That's how she does 
ever since we found her. No sooner come 
to for a minute, than hofif she goes again 
immediately ! " 

*^ What do you mean hy found her ?" asked 
Dr Henslow. " Don't press upon her, if you 

" Who is she ? " said Miss Lindsay, who 


had refused to retire on the doctor's rough 

" Law, ma'am ! " began Mrs Robinson. 

*' She is Miss Mortimer," said the doctor. 
*' Your brother was engaged to her, I am told." 

" That girl ! " exclaimed Janet, who was 
still too much agitated to control herself. 
" How dare she come here ! She killed my 
brother, I believe, that wicked girl ! " 

'* No, no," said the doctor, looking down 
compassionately on the pallid face and help- 
less figure — ** not wicked ; foolish and thought- 
less perhaps, Miss Lindsay, but not wicked. 
Mrs Robinson, how was the news conveyed 
to her?" 

** Law, sir! she was there with him herself" 

" Not alone, Mrs Robinson ?" 

** Law, yes, sir ! I told you, sir, when I 
came in this morning, at a quarter hafter 
seven, I see the poor young gentleman lay- 
ing there stiff, and she a-laying on the floor 
beside him a-fainting, and all her beautiful 
hair cut off in his 'and ; and there it lays still, 
ma'am -" 


" Mrs Robinson," said the doctor, sternly, 
'' do you mean to say you allowed this child 
to remain alone all night with that dying 
man ? " 

'' Oh, sir," cried Mrs Robinson, bursting 
into tears, '' who'd ever have thought of his 
going off sudden like that ? '' 

" I warned you expressly last night, Mrs 
Robinson ; and I ordered that you were not 
to leave him for an instant until I sent the 
nurse in the morning. Did I not ? " 

" Bless you, sir, she wouldn't let me stay, 
poor dear ! She understood illness, she said." 

'' Well, you see what you have done," said 
Dr Henslow, pointing to Griselda. " Poor 
little thing, who knows what she may have 
suffered ? And she loved him, I do believe." 
A tear dropped from the eye of the kind- 
hearted, though unjust doctor, and he recalled 
sadly his sharp speech of the night before. 

When he had succeeded in restoring the 
poor girl somewhat, he left her in Luise's 
charge, and drew Janet aside into another 


" Miss Lindsay, I suppose you will re- 
main here and will take charge of this 
young lady : I can't trust that Mrs Robin- 
son, and I can't communicate with the other 

" I am sorry, doctor/' said Janet, stiffly ; " it 
is quite impossible." 

" Impossible ? What is to become of her, 
then ? " 

" Her friends must be written to, I suppose. 
I can undertake nothing in the matter." 

'' Miss Lindsay, I should have expected you 
to consider this young girl as a precious legacy 
from your brother." 

" Excuse me, doctor. I have other duties 
to attend to. I have an invalid mother and a 
sister who require hourly attention. I must 
return to them at once. Even my poor 
brother's funeral " 

" The funeral ? Tut ! that Is sentiment. But 
this living girl ? " 

*' I can have nothing to say to her. My 
poor brother knew how strongly I disapproved 
of his engagement. She is an actress." 



*' Well, Miss Lindsay ? " 

** Not a desirable person at all, I am sure. 
And she treated him exceedingly badly, and 
shortened his life. After her behaviour, she 
took a great liberty in coming here, I con- 

'' Bless my soul ! " exclaimed the doctor, 
" how these women hate each other if they 
have the least pretext ! No wonder the poor 
thing did not like to be called Janet ! " 

Miss Lindsay did not understand the latter 
part of this exclamation, and the former she 
treated with dignified contempt. 

"May I trouble you, doctor," she said, ''to 
arrange for my poor brother's funeral ? I wish 
I could stay for it " 


"In as economical a manner as possible ? 
I must return to-night to my family, to make 
new arrangements for our life. I don't know 
how we shall make both ends meet, I am 
sure," she added, meditatively, and forgetting 
that she spoke to a stranger. 

" Oh, that's it, is it ? " said the kind-hearted 


doctor; "why couldn't you have said so be- 
fore ? " 

" I am not aware that it concerns any one 
but ourselves," said Miss Lindsay, proudly ; 
" we were dependent on my poor brother — at 
his own wish, entirely his own wish. But you 
understand I can let no one interfere with the 
discharge of my duties. Otherwise I should 
have stayed for the funeral." 

*' Very well. Miss Lindsay/' said the doctor, 
mollified but not yet appeased ; " I must make 
other arrangements for Miss Mortimer. I 
will speak to that — very singular young man 
who is in the parlour." 

Philip had vanished from the parlour, how- 
ever. Dr Henslow found him with Ralph. 

Unable to bear the anxiety of waiting for 
news of Griselda, the young man had wandered 
into the silent presence - chamber of Death. 
There lay Ralph, his once-friend whom he 
had deceived and wounded so cruelly. Philip 
laid his hand on the cold, stiff hand, which still 
tightly clasped the long golden curls. He 
drew from his own bosom a little ringlet of 


the same hair, and placed it also under the 
dead fingers. With it had been a portrait of 
Griselda. He tore it in small pieces. 

" I will keep no remembrance of her," he 
groaned. *' I would tear her out of my heart 
if I could. Ralph, Ralph, are you insatiable ? 
Will not this much satisfy you ? Nay, I will 
bear even this, if this is balsam to you. Ralph, 
my friend !'' he said, musingly, *' I loved you. 
There is no meaning in faith, or in friendship, 
or in love, since I have been untrue to you. 
A house upon the sand ; the old, old story. 
And great is the fall of it." 

*' Why have I no faith ? " he cried, starting 
up ; '' why can't I believe in some panacea .'^ 
Why can't I shoot myself, or burn my hand, or 
open my veins and let myself bleed till I fall 
from weakness ? I believe nothing. There is 
no atonement possible now. Pshaw ! Now .^ 
There never was an atonement possible. Did 
I dare to think it could be patched up, passed 
over, obliterated ? It is over now — that dream 
— every dream. Houses on the sand — houses 
on the sand." 


" Heaven knows, I require no remembrance 
of her — no portrait," he murmured, presently. 
'' God ! It Is too much. To be In the same 
house with her — and to be parted from her 
eternally ! I wonder," said Philip, philosophis- 
ing, ''what would be the perfection of misery? 
I think to know one had injured a beloved one, 
and that never through all eternity would re- 
paration be possible. I can Imagine no greater 
misery than that. Ralph !" he cried, not look- 
ing at the dead figure on the bed, but towards 
the dismal, shaded window, on which no sun- 
shine was falling, " we have not reached ^/la^ / 
Eternity is mine, I trust. Some day, some- 
where, I will make up for all. Leave me 
this hope. Eternity is mine, and to-day is the 
beginning of Eternity. When will the work 
begin ? — when will punishment be over and 
reparation be begun ? I can bear anything 
if your suffering Is ended — would I might 
add, and /lers. My darling ! my darling !" He 
stooped, and picking up the fragments of her 
picture, tried to piece them together again, 
that he might once more see the fair face such 


as Griselda's had been in the short days of 
her happiness. His fingers trembled, and the 
little pieces of card-board fell from them on 
Ralph's cold hand. Philip let them lie : fit 
emblem of the girl's broken heart, brought 
back too late to Ralph's yearning love. Philip 
knew instinctively that there had been no re- 
conciliation between Griselda and Ralph. She 
had returned to him too late, after trouble and 
disease had deadened his heart against her. 

When Philip was joined by Dr Henslow, he 
was kneeling by Ralph's side, his head raised, 
and his eyes looking towards the foot of the 
bed. Not at it, the doctor noticed ; between 
it and the wall was the spot where Griselda 
had stood with her death - like face, telling 
Philip there was no place here for him. 

He rose as the doctor entered. 

'' Is she ill ?" he questioned, anxiously. 

" Miss Mortimer ? You know this young 
lady, sir?" 

''Is she ill?" repeated Philip; his eyes 
were wandering restlessly, now gazing into 
space, now searching the doctors face. 


*' Yes ; she has had a shock to her nerves 
from which she may be some time in recover- 
ing. She has been neglected by the ignorant 
people of the house." 

" Dangerously ill ? " asked Philip. 

'' Not if you mean in danger of death. As 
I say, her nerves have been overtaxed, and 
she is a nervous girl evidently. You know 
her, sir ? " 

*' Yes " 

Philip had seated himself. The doctor 
studied his face curiously, forming many con- 

" You are not well yourself,'' said Dr 

** I ? Perfectly. Or, at least, I need one 
medicine only — a medicine I have never seen, 
and which if I had, I should not allow my- 
self to use. But it might have cured him — 

" A strange medicine," said the doctor, 
coming closer to the speaker. 

** Forgive me ; it is my way to speak meta- 
phorically. My mind is not wandering as his 


did. Our diseases maybe akin In their nature, 
but the symptoms are different. '* 

** Mr Lindsay died of a fever — aggravated, 
possibly induced, by some mental cause, I 
daresay. I should advise you not to fret 
yourself Into a fever." 

" A fever ? My temperament is not, I think, 
feverish. At present my pulse Is slow ; my 
forehead and my hands are damp. For a 
lesser pain there was One whose sweat was 

as A truce to this, doctor. I am not 

in a fever. Tell me where Miss Mortimer Is, 
and who is caring for her." 

*' Shall we come down-stairs ? " 

"If you will. His presence embarrasses 
you ? I, too, could think for her better away 
from him. The form without the spirit is 
terrible. That Is why ghosts are terrible. It 
is the spirit which is the reality to us, and 
a ghost is an appearance of form without a 

*' You have experience of ghosts, then ? " 

*' We all have experience of ghosts. Shall 
I tell you what I have been contemplating 


since I have been in here ? The ghost of my- 
self, and of what I meant to be. That was 
terrible — an appearance without a reality. 
Now tell me of Griselda." They were in the 
parlour by this time, standing together by the 
stubborn, slowly-burning fire, which may have 
been a means of heat, but was none of light in 
the dull room. '' You see," continued Philip, 
suddenly taking the doctor s hand, " I am 
forced to confide in you somewhat. You are 
an honest man — as honesty goes ; and if you 
are a stranger — it is sometimes easier to con- 
fide in strangers. Is it not so ? " 

'' I wish you would confide in me more," 
said the doctor, with a rush of sympathy, 
squeezing Philip's hand ; " there is something 
wrong with you — tell me what." 

" Nay, I have confided enough about myself. 
And you professional men are always apt to 
look at things too exclusively from a profes- 
sional point of view. I refused to be a doctor 
myself once for fear of falling into that error, 
and thinking livers and stomachs the prime 
movers of the universe. I am not disposed 


to become a patient, doctor. I have no need 
of drugs, or of cold water compresses." 

Dr Henslow smiled. " It Is about your 
young friend you wish to speak." 

" I scarcely dare to call her my friend," said 
Philip, gravely. " I do not wish to see her, 
and you will be kind enough never to mention 
my name to her. She would resent my in- 
trusion ; nor should I Intrude upon her if I 
once saw her In safer hands." 

" Exactly. Perhaps you can give me the 
address of her friends. I fear they must 
come to her. She cannot as yet go to 

" They must come to this house ?" 

** She will be better out of this house, I think. 
I am sorry Miss Lindsay will not take charge 
of her. She declares — seems an Ill-natured 
body, I think — that she must return at once to 
her home, to a mother or something, invalid, 
and likely to be in great poverty." 

'' I know something of all that," said Philip, 
flushing suddenly ; "he had a mother and sister, 
invalids — all three of them dependent on him. 


Miss Lindsay will be anxious to return and to 
save money." 

'' But the child is left friendless." 

*' Listen, doctor : I will send to her father at 

once " 

'' Some female relation would be better." 
" She has but one — an unsympathetic, un- 
principled person, who is now in Paris. Her 
father is probably in Italy, whence she came. 
I will send to him, and he will come for her. 
Meanwhile, doctor, you shall take her to your 
home. You sometimes take patients into your 
house, do you not ? and all expenses — which I 
leave entirely to you — you will please to charge 
to me, and say nothing about to her." 

" Expenses, tut ! " said the doctor. '' Yes, 

I had thought of that. I will take her to my 

Jess. She will care for her, poor lassie." 

" Thank you. Give her — your wife, doctor ? " 

" My daughter ; Jessie — my daughter." 

" Give your daughter my best thanks, if the 

thanks of a stranger have any value." Philip 

turned away, with tears suddenly filling his 

eyes. " And Ralph Lindsay's funeral," he 


added, " let it be soon — to-morrow, If possible ; 
and that will be my expense also. Will Gris- 
elda go to the funeral ? " 

" No, no ; certainly not." 

*' Then I will be there," said Philip, sadly. 

The doctor returned to the sick girl, and the 
young man left the house. 



Miss Henslow was a small, comfortable-look- 
ing young woman (not ve^y young), with plain 
features, and smooth, straight, old - fashioned 
hair. Her face wore an aspect of unfailing 
kindliness, and her nature was highly enthusi- 
astic and gushing. 

" This is my Jessie," said the doctor to 
Griselda, laying his hand on Miss Henslow's 
shoulder. " She will take great care of you, 
and make you well before you have begun to 
think about it." 

'' I don't want to get well," said Griselda, 
turning away a little. 

'* Oh yes, dear," said Jessie, kissing her, 
" for your father's sake. I am going to write 
to him and ask him to come and see you. 
You must try and be well when he comes." 


" I don't think he will come," said Griselda, 
so plaintively that a lump arose in Dr Hens- 
low's throat ; and he said hastily, '' Jessie, go 
and get her some breakfast." The doctor was 
always inclined to speak and act with vio- 
lence when his feelings were moved, and his 
daughter drew him out of the room that he 
might not agitate Griselda. 

" What a lovely little creature, papa ! " cried 
Jessie. " Who is she ? What is her name ? " 

" Oh, Gertrude, or something of that sort ; 
never mind her name. She came all the way 
from Russia by herself to see her lover (I 
suspect they had quarrelled), and she was 
only in time to watch him die." 

" How very, very dreadful ! " cried the sym- 
pathising Jessie, beginning to cry at once. 'T 
must go back to her. Poor little darling ! I 
am certain the quarrel was all his fault. No 
wonder she is unhappy, poor, poor child ! " 

Griselda was laid in Jessie's bed; and while 
Luise was getting her breakfast. Miss Henslow 
sat by her side gently rubbing her tired limbs, 
and now and then dropping a silent tear as she 


listened to the half- unconscious moans that 
burst from the pale lips. 

" Can you sing ? " asked Griselda once, 
longing for something to soothe her. 

''Yes," said kind Jessie; "shall I sing to 
you now, darling ? " 

" Please," said Griselda. 

Miss Henslow sang a hymn. She had no 
particular voice, and Griselda presently grew 

" Thank you/' she said, when Miss Henslow 
paused. " I have never heard that song be- 
fore. You are very kind to take so much 
trouble. I will sing to you now." She sat 
up and wailed forth some plaintive, minor 
strain, rather to Jessie's astonishment, for she 
could not tell that song was Griselda's most 
natural mode of expression. But the sweet 
voice was rough and broken, disobedient to 
the demand of the fastidious ear. Griselda 
stopped, with tears rolling down her cheeks. 

" I can't do it," she said, sorrowfully. 

" No, darling," said Miss Henslow, inwardly 
deciding that she was no great musician, and 


wishing she might try another hymn herself. 
Jessie was very reHgious, and wanted to ''sing 
the Gospel," as she termed it. But Griselda 
sank back on the pillow and asked for no more 
singing. She was silent for some time : the 
tears continued to fill her eyes, though no sobs 
came. Sometimes they fell unheeded ; some- 
times she rubbed them away with her hand, 

" Please tell my father to come," she said 
presently; "and ask him to bring some money. 
I have very little here. And, please, will you 
pay that Mrs Robinson out of my purse, what- 
ever she wants ; and that cabman I forgot 

about, and " Painful recollections came 

upon her, and she stopped short. 

'' Yes, dear, I will settle all that," said Jessie. 

'' Who gave you papa's address ? " asked 

** My father told me. It was given him by 
a gentleman who knew all about you. I did 
not hear his name, but he said he was a friend 
of poor Mr Lindsay's, and he was in the house 
arranging everything." 


Griselda raised herself on her elbow, and 
looked at her new friend earnestly, a bright 
red spot appearing on each pale cheek. 

" Oh ! " she cried, in a tone of horror. 

*' What is it, darling ?" said Jessie, alarmed, 
and rising to support her. Griselda dropped 
back into her former position, and lay panting 
on the pillow. 

" Was he there ? " she said, presently. '' He 
must not. He is — a person I don't like. I 
can't have anything to do with him," she 
cried, emphatically. 

*' He did not wish to intrude, darling, at all, 
my father said. Papa told me he was very 
kind, taking care of everybody, and thinking 
of everything.'' 

" Jessie," said Griselda — she had heard no 
other name for her new friend — " listen to me, 
please. You must not speak to me of that — 
person again. And you must not speak to 
him of me. Don't let him ask about me or 
anything. Perhaps some day I will tell you 
why. Please remember what I say. I don't 
like — that person — at all." 




Only three mourners followed Ralph Lindsay 
to his last resting-place. Dr Henslow was 
one ; poor, weeping Mrs Robinson was an- 
other. Griselda had Implored the doctor to 
take her, but he would not allow it. The 
third, therefore, was Philip Temple. 

It was a cold, drizzling morning, and the 
clergyman shivered as he read the service. 
Mrs Robinson and the doctor sobbed audibly. 
Philip stood motionless and stern, with tear- 
less eyes fixed on the new-made grave. 

Ralph had been laid In the coffin still hold- 
ing Griselda's curls, and Philip had thrown a 
trail of passion-flower, out of bloom, at his 

*' Read the 39th Psalm," said Philip, sternly, 


to the clergyman before the service began. 
Almost each verse was fraught with meaning 
to him, but he bore the wounding of the words 
unflinchingly. When, according to the direc- 
tions in our simple Prayer-book, '* earth w^as 
cast upon the body by some standing by," and 
the priest uttered those sad words, " Earth to 
earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," Philip 
threw a handful of ashes on the coffin. They 
were the remains of the torn portrait and the 
golden curl which he had taken from beside 
his heart and had burned on the morning of 
Ralph's death. 

No one there knew what was that trifling 
dust which the silent mourner sacrificed on 
this shrine, nor understood the cause that 
made his grief more deep, though less noisy, 
than theirs. But they all made way for him, 
giving him the first place, and speaking to 
him tenderly and thoughtfully. 

When the brief ceremony was over, Dr 
Henslow put his hand on the young man's 
arm, and would have led him away, but Philip 
drew back. 


" I am not going yet," he said, coldly. 
However, he paused, a question trembling on 
his lips. '' How Is she ?" he asked, presently, v 

" Better — much better," said the doctor, 

'' Have you told her — has she heard any- 
thing about me ? " 

" I am afraid she has," said Dr Henslow, 
thinking of Griselda s wish, which, however, 
he did not intend to repeat. 

" She will not let me interfere with her — 
help her?" said Philip, quietly. He did not 
seem annoyed : that Griselda had heard about 
him was but one drop of added bitterness. 

'' I have written," said Dr Henslow, "urging 
her father to come to her : he will do so, of 
course. She has her maid with her ; and she 
Is quite safe with us." 

** She Is in good hands," said Philip. " There 
is nothing more that I can do. She Is well 
enough to make further inquiries for her 
health unnecessary. That is so ? Then there 
is no place for me any longer." He spoke 
bitterly, but very quietly. His face was still 


haggard, but also stern and composed. The 
doctor's sympathies were strongly moved by 
the sufferings of this hapless pair. He won- 
dered what their story was. 

'' I will leave her in your hands," said Philip. 
" You can tell her, if you like, that I will ask 
no more about her — interfere with her no 
more. Leave me now, sir, if you please. 
You have finished saying your prayers ; I 
have not begun mine yet — to the Unknown 
God. Nay, though, I am forgetting — to a 
terribly well-known deity." 

*' I am told there is but one God," said the 
doctor, who was not considered a religious 
man, but who did not approve of heathenism. 

" And He is," said Philip, with a weird smile, 
" the Unknown God ? How can we tell how 
He comes to us?" he continued, rising from 
the tombstone on which he had been sitting, 
and baring his head to the swift-falling, fine 
rain. " My well-known deity with the hollow 
voice and the cold touch and the long re- 
proachful look, may be the Unknown God. 
I may have seen him In other shapes too — 


not hollow, nor cold, nor reproachful. I think 
I did — once. I don't want to know God too 
closely. I had rather feel an infinite above 
and beyond myself that I can never approach 
by one hair's - breadth. Let me get rid of 
everything false ; but I do not want — I think 
— to grasp the truth too closely. ' I have 
seen the end of all perfection ! ' Terrible I 
May I never say that in any sense.'' 

'' But God is infinite : we could never grasp 
or see the end of Him," said the clergyman, 
who had joined them. 

" And therefore He is unknown," said Philip, 

" Not necessarily so. Our knowledge may 
extend some way, though not far enough to 
exhaust the depths of God's infinitude." 

The young man made no reply : perhaps 
his glance at the uninvited speaker was some- 
what repellent. He left him the last word. 

" Good-bye," he said to Dr Henslow. 

'* Good - bye. Take my advice, my good 
fellow, and go home to your father and mother, 
if you have such." 


The doctor followed the clergyman to the 
gate of the cemetery. Philip turned away. But 
presently he came swiftly after Dr Henslow, 
and overtook him. He laid a hand on his 
shoulder. " Take care of her," he said, and 
retraced his steps to the grave. They left 
him there. 



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